Handbook of Space Law

Handbook of Space Law

Research Handbooks in International Law series

Edited by Frans von der Dunk

Handbook of Space Law addresses the legal and regulatory aspects of activities in outer space and major space applications from a comprehensive and structured perspective. The book fundamentally addresses the dichotomy between the state-oriented character of international space law and the increasing commercialization and privatization of space activities.

Chapter 9: Legal aspects of satellite remote sensing

Fabio Tronchetti

Subjects: law - academic, public international law


Satellite remote sensing is a space sector with a few specific legal characteristics, addressed by the space treaties, general international law on information and sovereignty (especially over permanent natural resources), and the authoritative UN Remote Sensing Principles. From a broader perspective, also data dissemination policies of specific international and national institutions in areas such as meteorology, are to be taken into consideration. Due to the increasing practical application of remote sensing data furthermore, the applicability of intellectual property rights, notably copyrights and database rights, has become an issue. Recently, moreover, the sector has been undergoing a number of important developments, in particular concerning the increasing commercial availability of very high resolution data (which raises issues of security as well as privacy) and the use of remote sensing data in the context of disaster prevention and mitigation (which raises questions of obligations to share data and related liability issues) as per the International Charter for Space and Major Disasters. A final important issue here is the European flagship initiative to establish a Global Monitoring for Environment and Security (GMES), now Copernicus infrastructure.

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