2.3 Data as an Economic Good

It is indisputable that data has a value, and that data management generates costs. Today, data is traded in the market like a commodity; it has a price, and many companies monitor the costs incurred for data management. However, data, being an intangible good, differs from tangible goods with regard to a number of properties, among which the fact that data is non-rival is considered the most important one. The value of data increases as it is being used (and, in many cases, as the number of user increases). While these differences hinder the adoption and application of legal provisions to the management and use of data, they do not dispute the fact that data is an economic good.

Depending on what type data is of, or what category it can be subsumed under, the value it contributes to the development of innovative products and services can vary. Therefore, the need for protection of data is not the same across all data types and data categories. Public data, for example, which can be accessed by anyone, requires a lower level of protection than private data or club data.

Because of these differences and distinctions made with regard to data, a generally accepted understanding of the value of data has not been established so far. Nevertheless, there is a growing need to determine the value of data, given the rapid developments taking place Data-driven Business Ecosystems.

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