Journal of Civil Law Studies


data ownership, property law, European Community law, protection of personal data, fundamental freedoms, data sover-eignty, property asset, tangible and non-tangible property, transfer of ownership, assigning data ownership rights, rights of use and de-fensive rights, restriction rights against others


Data has become one of the most important resources in post-modern information society. However, European civil law does not reflect this development adequately. In fact, so far, European civil law seems to struggle with handling data as a legal entity. Against this background, the article provides a transnational overview and a comprehensive analysis of the legal situation in Europe. It discusses why data ownership is widely perceived as a problem on this side of the Atlantic and how this perception can be overcome by a fundamental property law approach. Taking into account economic realities, we argue that European property law provides a sufficient framework for establishing a theoretical concept of data ownership. Therefore, we draft the dimensions of a data ownership concept by proposing potential criteria for assigning ownership and analyzing both positive access and negative restriction rights.

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