General Provisions

The first Part of the Principles includes general information that is relevant for all other Chapters.

  • Principle 1 lays out the general purpose of the Principles.
  • Principle 2 defines the scope of the Principles.
  • Principle 3 defines the most important terms.
  • Principle 4 deals with remedies with respect to data contracts and data rights.

Purpose of the Principles

The Principles are intended for use in various legal systems. They are designed to make existing law in the field of the data economy more coherent and inspire the further development of the law by courts and legislators worldwide. Furthermore, the Principles can be used by actors in the data economy to serve as a contractual basis or complement national contract law. They could also serve as a basis for deliberations of arbitral tribunals.

It is important to note that the Principles are not intended to amend or create any form of data privacy or data protection law, intellectual property law, or trade secrets law. In the event of any inconsistency between the Principles and such other law that cannot be overcome by interpretation, the other law should prevail.

Scope of the Principles

Principle 3 defines data as information recorded in any form or medium or as it is being transmitted. However, the Principles are concerned only with digital data, meaning that the data should be recorded in machine-readable formats suitable for automated processing. For the Principles to apply, the main focus of a matter should be on the information recorded as an asset, resource or tradeable commodity. The Principles are primarily concerned with large amounts of data ('bulk' or 'serial' data) rather than single pieces of information.


According to Principle 4, remedies with respect to data contracts and data rights, including with respect to any protection of third parties in the context of data activities, should generally be determined by the applicable law. In its second paragraph, Principle 4 takes into account one of the unique characteristics of data, namely that data can be multiplied at basically no cost. Hence, duties to return the data (e.g. after cancellation of a contract) are modified: instead of returning the data, it may simply be deleted.