The “Invisible Hand” of Contract Law in the Regulation of the Data Economy.

While many regulatory initiatives in the EU rely mostly on public market regulation (e.g., the DGA, DMA, and Data Act), the Principles for a Data Economy bring the ‘invisible hand’ of private law to the fore. They constitute a form of “transnational private (soft) law”, cover contracts that have data as their object of negotiation and expand the range of entitlements that private parties may enforce vis-a-vis one another. My intervention will focus on the rationales behind a private-law-focused approach and discuss its effectiveness in achieving a fair yet innovation-friendly legal landscape, absent a proper harmonisation of underlying legal frameworks. While the principles rightly acknowledge the importance of contract law as a “legal technology”, my hypothesis is that we need to overcome the illusion of a “neutral” private law and combine the efforts of the ELI/ALI initiatives with a broader commitment to shared regulatory policies at national, regional, and international levels.