EU hijacking: self-driving car data will be copyrighted...by the manufacturer / Boing Boing
The autonomous vehicle rules contained a clause that affirmed that “data generated by autonomous transport are automatically generated and are by nature not creative, thus making copyright protection or the right on databases inapplicable.”
This is pretty inoffensive stuff. Copyright protects creative work, not factual data, and the telemetry generated by your car — self-driving or not — is not copyrighted.
But just before the vote, members of the European Peoples’ Party (the same bloc that pushed through the catastrophic new Copyright Directive) stopped the proceedings with a rare “roll call” and voted down the clause.
In other words, they’ve snuck in a space for the telemetry generated by autonomous vehicles to become someone’s property. This is data that we will need to evaluate the safety of autonomous vehicles, to fine-tune their performance, to ensure that they are working as the manufacturer claims — data that will not be public domain (as copyright law dictates), but will instead be someone’s exclusive purview, to release or withhold as they see fit.
Who will own this data? It’s unlikely that it will be the owners of the vehicles. Just look at the data generated by farmers who own John Deere tractors. These tractors create a wealth of soil data, thanks to humidity sensors, location sensors and torque sensors — a centimeter-accurate grid of soil conditions in the farmer’s own field.