Editors? Pick

Author:T. Dreier - L. Guibault - A. Metzger - M. Peguera
Pages:66-69
SUMMARY

In this new column, which from now on shall appear at regular intervals, the editors of JIPITEC would like to present to their readers monographs that in their mind are either outstanding or are worth being mentioned and recommended to the interested reader. Each individual editor is responsible for his or her own choice and each text reflects personal interests and preferences rather than an... (see full summary)

 
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2013
66
4
T. Dreier, L. Guibault, A. Metzger, M. Peguera
Editors’ Pick
© 2013 T. Dreier, L. Guibault, A. Metzger, M. Peguera
Everybody may disseminate this ar ticle by electroni c means and make it available for downlo ad under the terms and
conditions of the Digita l Peer Publishing Licence (DPPL). A copy of the license text may be obtaine d at http://nbn-resolving.
de/urn:nbn:de:00 09-dppl-v3-en8.
Recommended citation: T. Dreier, L. Guibault, A. M etzger, M. Peguera, Editors’ Pick, 4 (2013) JIPITEC 6 6, para. 1
In this new column, which from now on shall appear
at regular intervals, the editors of JIPITEC would like
to present to their readers monographs that in their
mind are either outstanding or are worth being men-
tioned and recommended to the interested reader.
Each individual editor is responsible for his or her
own choice and each text reflects personal interests
and preferences rather than an editorial policy.
1 To open this new format, Thomas Dreier* would like
to draw attention to a monograph by
Zech, Herbert: Information als Schutz-
gegenstand. Series “JusPriv“ No. 166. Mohr
Siebeck. Tübingen 2012. XXV, 488 pp.
2
After having written his habilitation at the
University of Bayreuth within the framework of the
university’s graduate school, “Geistiges Eigentum
und Gemeinfreiheit,” Prof. Zech has joined the law
faculty of the University of Basel in Switzerland,
where he now teaches civil law and IP law, with a
focus on intellectual property in life sciences. Writing
a second academic monograph after a dissertation
in order to qualify for the career path of tenured
professorship at a law faculty is still a particular
feature of German academic tradition. Working on
a habilitation may be a long and, at times, tedious
exercise, but it has resulted in quite a number of

analysis of isolated legal issues.
3
    
to devote his attention to the analysis of the legal
protection of information. Rather, with regards
to German legal literature in the area of civil law,
Zech can tie in with earlier works by Wiebe, Dreier,
Haedicke, Peukert and others. In Switzerland and
Austria the works by Druey and, more recently, by
Mayer-Schönberger can be mentioned. Following
in the tradition of Wiebe – from whom Zech has
borrowed the title of his work and who already in
    
information as an “object of protection” – Zech
now widens the view and also discusses exclusive
protection schemes for information other than
through intellectual property rights. Thus,
personality rights, the protection of trade secrets,
rules against unfair competition (in particular, the
protection against unfair product imitation) and
property legislation governing rights with regard
to the physical embodiment of information likewise
come into focus. By this approach, it becomes clear
that even in continental European law tradition,
rights with regard to information – including
intellectual property rights – can much better be
described as a bundle of different rights vis-à-vis
third persons, rather than one solitary right of
property with regard to a particular object. In this
respect, the term “allocation” (“Zuordnung”) of
exclusive rights or even goods likewise becomes

been traditionally been understood in German legal
literature. Of course, on the one hand, the approach
chosen to examine the exclusivity of rights with
regard to information only indirectly focuses on
the communicative aspect of information. However,
on the other hand, the notion of information is
understood by Zech in a broad sense to cover all
information goods such as news, images, gene
sequences or stored data.
4
In an introductory part, the book provides an
excellent overview of the state of discussion in
German legal literature regarding property and/
or exclusive rights concerning information. Then,
borrowing from Benkler and Lessig, who distinguish
content layer, code layer and physical layer of
information, as his central thesis Zech proposes to
classify the legal protection schemes for information
according to information’s characteristics as
semantic, syntactic and structural. Whereas
semantic information is characterized by its inherent
meaning, syntactic information can be described
as the signs representing semantic information.
Ultimately, structural information is information
in its physical embodiment. This differentiation

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