Digital data

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In information theory and technology, digital data is information presented in a discrete manner. In this form, data can be read or processed better or exclusively by computers or other devices for digital signal processing .

In order to receive digital data, it has to be digitized beforehand. They can then be transmitted and stored efficiently and error-tolerant (e.g. using checksums ).

Colloquially, digital data is often understood to mean digital documents, images and videos. More rarely and incorrectly, meta information that arises when using computers or the Internet and that can provide information about the person .

Under the catchphrase data ownership , it is discussed whether, in view of the increasing economic value of digital data, a legal regulation of usage and exploitation rights should take place. According to current law, ownership of the data itself (unlike the data carrier on which it is stored) is not possible, as ownership in the civil law sense (Section 903 BGB) generally only applies to things, i.e. physical objects (Section 90 BGB), can exist. In many cases, however, the concept of ownership (including, but not limited to, digital data) is equated with the right to access and dispose of it. The role of the so-called data owner is independent of the question of ownership , which describes the responsibility for the quality assurance of certain company data , for example.


  • Manufacturing costs are usually high
  • Reproduction costs are very low. In theory, digital data can be made available as often as required at no additional cost.
  • There is no loss of quality through copying.
  • Digital data can be provided centrally and are then immediately available everywhere at the same time.
  • Digital data is characterized by non-rivalry, i. H. For example, a book in analog form can only ever be borrowed by one person in a library. If, on the other hand, the book is available digitally, it can be borrowed by any number of people at the same time.


  • Maximilian Becker: Rights to data - Industry 4.0 and the IP rights of tomorrow . In: Legal journal . Vol. 72 (2017), issue 19, pp. 936-938, doi : 10.1628 / 002268817X14942394010270 .
  • Thomas Sagstetter: Big Data and the European Legal Framework: Status Quo and Need for Reform in the Light of the Trade Secrets Directive 2016/943 / EU . In: Mark-Oliver Mackenrodt, Lena Maute (Hrsg.): Law as infrastructure for innovation. Nomos, Baden-Baden 2019, ISBN 978-3-8487-5379-6 ( online ).