Navigating Legal Rights in Spatial Media
Forthcoming, 2016, in Kitchin, Lauriault & Wilson, eds. Understanding Spatial Media, Sage Publications.
15 Pages Posted: 10 Nov 2015
Date Written: July 20, 2015
The collection or generation of spatial data is often the result of a significant investment of time, money and labour. As a result, compilations of spatial data have been routinely treated as a form of property. The propertization of data allows an owner to construct fences around the data so as to exclude unauthorized uses. There have been significant debates over access to and use of spatial data resources, particularly those that are in the hands of governments. Many (though not all) governments assert intellectual property rights over their data, and do so as a means of control. The open data movement has pushed for a relinquishment of this control, and this has resulted in the release of government datasets under licenses that contain few if any restrictions. The rapidly evolving data landscape and the ways in which the data revolution is changing both the delivery of government services and the kind and quantity of data generated by these services are poised to transform how ownership of and access to data is negotiated between data owners and data users. In the context of public services, ownership and control issues will be complicated by the presence of private sector companies who partner in the collection and generation of data. This chapter considers the interrelationship between claims to property rights in data and rights to access and use that data in a rapidly changing data environment.
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