Research Handbook in Data Science and Law
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Research Handbook in Data Science and Law

Edited by Vanessa Mak, Eric Tjong Tjin Tai and Anna Berlee

The use of data in society has seen an exponential growth in recent years. Data science, the field of research concerned with understanding and analyzing data, aims to find ways to operationalize data so that it can be beneficially used in society, for example in health applications, urban governance or smart household devices. The legal questions that accompany the rise of new, data-driven technologies however are underexplored. This book is the first volume that seeks to map the legal implications of the emergence of data science. It discusses the possibilities and limitations imposed by the current legal framework, considers whether regulation is needed to respond to problems raised by data science, and which ethical problems occur in relation to the use of data. It also considers the emergence of Data Science and Law as a new legal discipline.
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Chapter 7: Data and intellectual property law

Michael Mattioli


This chapter examines the somewhat jumbled relationship between data and intellectual property law, with a special focus on copyrights, patents, and trade secrets. Although these bodies of law are deeply concerned with and influenced by new technologies, they offer limited protections to the new industries forming around data today. Traditional copyright protection for data and databases is relatively thin, and the patentability of algorithms that can process data is somewhat unpredictable under current American jurisprudence. Meanwhile, although data may be the subject of trade secret protection, liability under this body of law extends only to those who wrongfully use or disclose valuable secret data. Responding in part to the limitations of traditional IP law, European policymakers in the 1990s enacted a special form of sui generis rights for databases and continue to explore useful new policies today. Despite repeated efforts by US lawmakers, no similar protections have been enacted into American law. In addition to exploring how the law applies to data, this chapter briefly highlights how new industrial and commercial uses of data connect with the policies underlying IP law—most significantly, the twin goals of promoting innovation and disclosing technological information.

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