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Who owns Data?

The ABC Article

this article on the ABC website:

stood out to me.

the heading was “Photos stolen and used by someone else on Facebook?”. admittedly it was in the form of a question. other parts of the article had words like ownership and property.

this gives the impression that the people concerned owned the photos and those people that copied the photos were actually stealing. no doubt this impression had been created by a group of business people a number of years ago, who put at the beginning of many movies a video saying that, you wouldn't steal a car, why would you steal a video. also the word piracy, is used to describe the practice of copyright infringement. The pirates of year's gone by were thieves, but you can't steal, ideas information and data.

It's not Theft

to steal something, you have to deprive the other person from having it. if it's something physical, like a car, the print of a photo or the like, then the person that steals it has it and the person that it was stolen from, no longer has it. just like ship pirates that physically took things from another ship.

in the situations in the above article, that didn't happen. rather,the photographs were copied. the original taker of the photographs still physically had them, and those that copied them had a copy of them. as the photographs were in a digital format, both groups of people had and own, the data that represents the photos.

what actually happened, because of the laws of copyright, the persons that copied the data, representing the photos, had infringed the copyright owners exclusive rights. but that is not stealing.

as the article says there are some things that the copyright owner can do to get money or whatever from the infringer. this is extremely difficult and in the long run, could end up costing more than it's worth.

The Bigger Picture

the more important aspect here is the whole concept of what the internet represents, which is basically sharing of information, compared with the concert of intellectual property, via copyright laws, whose basic, perhaps unintended, concept is to artificial restrict the sharing of information.

Everything is a Derived Copy

everything, including life itself, is a derived copy. very little, if anything at all, is completely new, that came from nowhere. everything comes from something else. the same applies to ideas, information and data.

any idea anyone comes up with is not in complete isolation. it will be based on genetics, education, environment, history, knowledge, and many other factors. all of which involve other people.

therefore to say that copyright laws are designed to give an individual a reward for an original piece of work, is completely ignoring, the genetics education, environment, history, knowledge and other factors contributed by other people to that individuals ability to come up with what is, supposedly, an original piece of work.

See also

What is data?

See Data

if data is the raw form of information and knowledge, then it's only the artificial intellectual property laws, that make data a property, so giving somebody ownership of it.

actually that's wrong. it's intellectual property laws that give a person the exclusive right to determine how data is to be copied, if at all. if somebody copies the data without being given the right to do so, under copyright law, they cannot be sued for stealing data. but they can be sued for copying data without the right to do so.

ther may be other laws about the stealing of data.

when data is containerised within a computer on some form of media, or whatever, if the container is stollen, then that is theft, because the thief has it and the original person no longer has it.

No one owns Data

so nobody own data, just like nobody owns air.


these are only my own opinions.

as they say, please seek your own legal advice.

who_owns_data.txt · Last modified: 2020/12/15 14:47 by geoff