vendredi 20 mars 2015

Source data: trading rights?

The article below addresses rights as they are observed in movies, and works or arts, exploring how the underlying concepts may apply for big data economics.


The movie business model can be summarised as a succession of windows of exploitation, and within each window rights can be sold and bought with conditions of use attached (time interval, geography, potentially number of users, platform of rendering). Typically a movie is released in one or a handful of Premiere cinema theatres, then in exclusivity to a number of cinema theatres in a given geography, then to all cinemas, then pay TV and packaged media like Bluray or online pay service, then broadcast commercial or public free to air TV.
[Of course it is more than this]

Assume an individual grants access to part of his/her personal data, say biological and health parameters. The data set could be accessed under a contract granting specified rights: scope and time window of use, with robust anonymisation requirements (say that the data has to be used as part of a set comprising at least xxx other subjects at each processing step).
Is this "right" business model, and its underlying organisation of the market place robust to:
-reselling data set for later use, within agreed scope?
-retrieving subjects for later negotiation of changed scope (e.g. a food&beverage company having interest to access a data set previously used for health analysis)
-auditing the proper use by processing companies and their clients
-inserting mechanisms for deleting data sets after "do not use after" date.

In the digital world, data can be reproduced at negligible cost, hence what matters is not the instantiation of a data parameter, but the source "blueprint", the equivalent of a manuscript and not of the thousands of printed books derived from this manuscript.


This leads us to the model of a work of art, say a Van Gogh painting.
The asset can be made available to museums for exhibition (use limited in time and geography, associated with an audience, or number of visitors, targeted or recorded). It can also be "transcoded" into different representations, as authorised photographs, reproductions, etc...
A single work of art can be valued over time as "junk", zero or little, and up to enormous values.
As a category, French Impressionists were often not valued in France, but had some early customers in the USA. Many years later, works despised earlier reached huge values at auctions.
However, data seen as information may be more valuable at an early stage of its life than at a later stage. A bottle of milk loses its whole value on the "best before" date: it usually gets heavily discounted on the day, and discarded at the end of that day.
News are normally expected to be fresh. For instance the current temperature is useful to me now, the 3-days weather forecast is of interest to chose clothes for a trip. After the trip, this past information has lost value. However, the long tail business model for the exploitation of entertainment content like movies or music recording, may also apply: the time series of the values of source data may be of interest as history, and based on history, some forecast estimates can be proposed (with associated uncertainty).

An electrocardiogramme database of people living in the 1950s may be interesting to revisit in the 2050s, hence it should not be discarded.
There is probably a distinction to be made between the value of some freshly acquired data, stored in cache memory, and the value of an archive.
Keeping and maintaining an archive has a cost, for instance transcoding from legacy formats and systems to current ones for new use.

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