Data Producer's Right and the Protection of Machine Generated Data

Article by Peter K. Yu

Data is the new oil of today’s economy—so claim policy makers, commentators, and industry analysts. In a data-driven economy, there is enormous value in the data generated and collected by humans and machines—both consciously and subconsciously. Driven by this reality, in October 2017, the European Commission proposed a new data producer’s right for nonpersonal, anonymized machine-generated data. This proposal called for the creation in data producers a “right to use and authorise the use of non-personal data.”

This Article takes a preemptive approach of critically examining the EU's proposal to develop a data producer's right before it begins to gain traction on this side of the Atlantic.  Specifically, the Article shows that the proposal has failed to learn from valuable lessons from the past, does not meet the present needs of the U.S. data-driven economy, and would likely raise considerable complications with the future development of a sound and holistic data governance regime.  This Article further offers suggestions on how policy makers and commentators should develop laws and policies regarding the protection of machine-generated data.

About the Author

Peter K. Yu: Professor of Law, Professor of Communication, and Director, Center for Law and Intellectual Property, Texas A&M University.


93 Tul. L. Rev. 859 (2019)