Legal Challenges And Strategies For Comparison Shopping And Data Reuse


Hongwei Zhu
Stuart E. Madnick


New technologies have been continuously emerging to enable effective reuse of an ever-growing amount of data on the Web. Innovative firms can leverage the available technologies and data to provide useful services. Comparison-shopping services are an example of reusing existing data to make bargain-finding easier. Certain reuses have caused conflicts with the firms whose data has been reused. Countries in the European Union have implemented the Database Directive to provide legal protection for database creators, but the impact and the interpretation of the new law are unclear and still evolving. Lawmakers in the U.S. have not decided on a policy concerning database protection and data reuse. Both data creating and data reusing firms need to develop strategies to operate effectively in this uncertain environment. Comparison-shopping and other data reuse services face similar legal and strategic challenges. Thus we address these challenges in the broader data reuse context. We use economic reasoning to formulate strategies in anticipation of the likely policy choices and interpretations of existing legislation. Both data creating firms and data reusing firms should focus on innovative ways of using or reusing data to create differentiated products and services. For firms that gather data from multiple sources, they can also use the insights gained from integrated data to provide other value-added services.

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August, 2010

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