The global data economy has become an integral part of the global economy. It plays a fundamental role in issues of economic distribution and inequality, which has much to do with the legal arrangements and entitlements that shape it. Yet data and data-driven technologies are often conceptualized in terms that do not seem adequate to capture the role they play in global distribution, or which overlook the law as a key mechanism shaping distributional outcomes. Using a law and political economy approach, this article argues that conceiving of data as capital that is coded by legal mechanisms allows new ways of imagining alternative distributions of the value it generates in the global economy today. The article maps some of the legal entitlements that shape the global data economy and its distributive effects, as well as proposals for alternatives. It concludes that analyses of the distributive effects of the global data economy ought to take into account the fundamental roles that both law and technology play in shaping those effects.