Fwd: data ownership

11 Apr 2016

Hi all:
I am forwarding a message from Christoph Bruch about data "ownership" and
an article about it. Personally, I do not like using the word "ownership"
for intangible, public goods, especially for non-copyrightable facts in the
public domain. Such facts are "discovered" not "created", and can be
"controlled" but not "owned". I agree with Christoph that we ought to
insert this issue somewhere in the guidelines, although I think it should
be done after the next round of reviews, because it is not a
straightforward fix and we need to get the documents out to the reviewers
in the next week.
Does the ownership issue rise to the level of a First Principle? Should we
say something like: 1. "Facts of nature contained in a dataset are public
goods that cannot be owned, only controlled." Such a Principle would also
provide a vehicle for explaining the threshold difference between
information that is subject to IPRs and info that is in the public domain,
which sets apart many datasets from creative works.
---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Christoph Bruch <***@***.***>
Date: Sun, Apr 10, 2016 at 7:07 PM
Subject: WG: data ownership
To: puhlir
Hi Paul
I am sending this directly to you as I got an error message from our list
Christoph Bruch
Helmholtz Association
Helmholtz Open Science Coordination Office
W: +49 (0)331 28 82 87 61
M: +49 (0)151 14 09 39 68
*Von:* Christoph Bruch [mailto:***@***.***]
*Gesendet:* Montag, 11. April 2016 00:02
*An:* 'RDA/CODATA Legal Interoperability IG'
*Betreff:* data ownership
Dear All,
After reading the article cited below I am convinced that we do need to add
to our paper an definition/disclaimer stating that the concept concerning
ownership of data still poses fundamental questions, which we cannot
The following paragraph is only meant to start our conversation
Data Ownership
Relating the term ownership to data poses many questions, first of all if
ownership can apply at all. In many, possibly the great majority of cases
copyright will not apply due to the fact that a great amount of creativity
may have been employed produce data but this creativity is not represented
in the data thus they do not constitute works in the sense of copyright. A
database that consists of data may be protected e.g. based on the sui
generis database protection applying within the European Union. It is
important to realize that the European database protection protects the
investment in the database that is the investment necessary to collect and
sort the content of the database. The protection does not apply to the
individual data. Data even though they are immaterial are fix on some kind
of medium. The question whether ownership of the medium constitutes
ownership of the data fixed on it will not be answered consistently across
all jurisdictions. In respect to this document all these uncertainties
translate to a utilitarian understanding of the term data ownership,
meaning to identify the person/institution that has authority to decide
what may be done with the data even though not all question mention above
can be answered satisfactory.
Hoeren, Thomas (2014): *Big Data and the Ownership in Data: Recent
Developments in Europe*, *European Intellectual Property Review*, Bd. 2014,
Nr. 12, S. 751-754.
Big data is a catch word which is used now as a denominator for a variety
of new data processing services. But one "simple" question behind big data
is unsolved: Who owns data? Can data be "owned"? And who is the owner if
data are stored for instance in the data recorder of a car-the car
producer; the car owner; the driver? Property in data seems to contradict
the traditional concepts of civil law which have attributed property to
tangible goods since Roman times. These concepts seem to have become
undermined in the information society. But the first courts in the United
Kingdom and Germany have dealt with the matter and seem to have developed a
new intellectual property right to data.
Christoph Bruch
Helmholtz Association
Helmholtz Open Science Coordination Office
W: +49 (0)331 28 82 87 61
M: +49 (0)151 14 09 39 68
*Von:* pfuhlir=***@***.***-groups.org [
<***@***.***-groups.org>] *Im
Auftrag von *puhlir
*Gesendet:* Freitag, 8. April 2016 16:23
*An:* agosti; RDA/CODATA Legal Interoperability IG
*Betreff:* [rda-legalinterop-ig] Re: [rda-legalinterop-ig] Final revisions
to Implementation Guidelines prior to second...
Thanks, Donat. I actually do have this and cite as LIBER 2015.
On Fri, Apr 8, 2016 at 9:19 AM, agosti <***@***.***> wrote:
Here is another global declaration to add to the introduction
The Hague Declaration (2015)
*From:* pfuhlir=***@***.***-groups.org [mailto:pfuhlir=
***@***.***-groups.org] *On Behalf Of *puhlir
*Sent:* Thursday, April 7, 2016 3:44 PM
*To:* RDA/CODATA Legal Interoperability IG <
*Subject:* [rda-legalinterop-ig] Final revisions to Implementation
Guidelines prior to second review
Hi all:
Attached are the Guidelines for discussion tomorrow. I have added the
comments from last week, including the references in the text; revised the
definitions section further, extensively revised and added references at
the end.
Later today I will send out the notes prepared by Gail and myself from the
breakout session we held at RDA P7, as well as a draft memo to the second
batch of reviewers. Simon will also send the instructions for the telcon
We will discuss the final changes to the document and the second review
process, together with the identification of those reviewers.
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  • Jean Bernard Minster's picture

    Author: Jean Bernard Minster

    Date: 11 Apr, 2016

    Paul: i understand your reluctance to use the word “ownership”, but I would think that a Big Pharma cooperation or a Big Oil corporation would like the concept, since they live by it. So what is the concept expressed when someone says “it’s MINE”. I think this might be explained in terms of an extreme version of IPR, namely, if it’s MINE, then I have total, exclusive rights to all of it and to all that can be done with it … until i sell it, of course. I understand the complexities if IPR, but “MINE” is a concept that 7 billion people across the planet understand very well. it defines all kind of other words, including “steal”.
    So I think we do need to address it in some fashion, even if all we end up doing is “punting” on the issue and discuss only matters of public goods, already paid for by society.
    That is a very hard question as most IPR questions tend to be, because if someone takes a public good, and adds a little bit of value to it by being clever, then the notion of ownership becomes very messy of course.
    We would do a world of good to the community if we could devise a clear and simple way to describe (if not resolve) the issue.
    Just my 2 cents.

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