Wednesday, December 20, 2006

the code is the law

I am still not entirely convinced that the 'code is the law' but code v2 by Lawrence Lessig definitely 'rules'. Code v2 is a sort of a collective update (through a wiki) of Lessig's original 'Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace', which was published in 1999.
The book is downloadable here and it can be construed (in terms of creation, copyright protection (under the creative commons), etc.) as the very epitome of web 2.0 in an academic context.

Friday, December 08, 2006

new important reports on IPRs

There is an excellent new report by Urs Gasser and Silke Ernst. It provides some recommendations on the implementation of the EU Copyright Directive (EUCD) into the national copyright frameworks of accession and candidate countries. The study focuses on digital copyright and includes specific recommendations in crucial areas, such as DRM anti-circumvention, private copying exceptions, teaching exceptions, exceptions for archives and libraries, as well as recommendations on reporting on current events and the quotation right.
Another study of importance in view of the forthcoming review of the European copyright regulatory framework is the Gowers Review of Intellectual Property. It was commissioned by the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer in December 2005 and has been published recently (Dec. 6).
The Gowers Review examines the existing IPR instruments, i.e. patents, copyright, designs and trade marks, and whether they are balanced, coherent and flexible. It sets out a number of targeted, practical recommendations to deliver a robust IP framework fit for the digital age. The principle recommendations of the Review are aimed at: (i) tackling IP crime and ensuring that rights are properly enforced; (ii) reducing the costs and complexity of the system; and (iii) reforming copyright law to allow individuals and institutions to use content in ways consistent with the digital age.

another paper

As part of my thesis work, I have long been considering what the appropriate objectives for communications regulation in a digital networked environment should look like, and how they interplay with each other.
It seemed to me that goal evaluation as an essential element of the process of designing regulatory frameworks has often been ignored by lawyers and legal scholars. The paper stresses the importance of pinpointing the precise regulatory objectives in the fluid environment of electronic communications, since, due to their technological and economic development, they have become the vital basis for communication and distribution of information in modern societies. The paper attempts an analysis of the underlying regulatory objectives in contemporary communications and seeks to put together the complex puzzle of economic and societal issues.

Here is a slightly edited and updated version of my paper. Comments are most welcome.

Monday, October 02, 2006

service public

Here is my attempt to write a piece on the concept of universal service in a digital networked environment. It is meant to be a part of the special issue on telecommunications reform of I/S: A Journal of Law and Policy for the Information Society.
My basic idea was that in the new digital and converging electronic communications ecosystem, the rationale(s) for providing universal access have been transformed. The weight is now not so much on internalising the network externalities and/or redistributional considerations, but should move towards creating and sustaining communication and information networks as a public good. In that sense, I argue that the debate on the concept of universal service should be readjusted and envisage access to content as an essential element of the scope of future universal service obligations. The latter is justified on freedom of expression and cultural diversity grounds as well.

new interesting reports

It has been quite some time since my last post. Getting married and honeymoon-ing do take time... Anyway, a lot of (arguably) more important things have happened in the meantime in the big wide world and just to keep track of a fraction of them, here are two different in nature, but both key reports, that are presently widely (and justly so) discussed.

The first one is a report on the future of the internet by the PEW Internet and American Life Project. This is the second such report and in essence a survey of the predictions of internet leaders, activists and analysts on how the internet wiill look (and act) like by 2020. A majority of the surveyed opinions agree that:

(i) A low-cost global network will be thriving and creating new opportunities in a “flattening” world.
(ii) Humans will remain in charge of technology, even as more activity is automated and “smart agents” proliferate. However, a significant 42% of the survey respondents were pessimistic about humans’ ability to control the technology in the future. This significant majority agreed that dangers and dependencies will grow beyond our ability to stay in charge of technology.
(iii) Virtual reality will be compelling enough to enhance worker productivity and also spawn new addiction problems.
(iv) Tech “refuseniks” will emerge as a cultural group characterized by their choice to live off the network. Some will do this as a benign way to limit information overload, while others will commit acts of violence and terror against technology-inspired change.
(v) People will wittingly and unwittingly disclose more about themselves, gaining some benefits in the process even as they lose some privacy.
(vi) English will be a universal language of global communications, but other languages will not be displaced. Indeed, many felt other languages such as Mandarin, would grow in prominence.

There was strong dispute about those futuristic scenarios among the survey respondents. Those who raised challenges believe that governments and corporations will not necessarily embrace policies that will allow the network to spread to under-served populations; that serious social inequalities will persist; and that “addiction” is an inappropriate notion to attach to people’s interest in virtual environments.
The experts and analysts also split evenly on a central question of whether the world will be a better place in 2020 due to the greater transparency of people and institutions afforded by the internet: 46% agreed that the benefits of greater transparency of organizations and individuals would outweigh the privacy costs and 49% disagreed.
/The whole report is available here/

The second key report was issued some time ago and is the result of the work of the Study Group of the International Law Commission and was finalised by Martti Koskenniemi of the University of Helsinki. The report is entitled "Fragmentation of International Law: Difficulties Arising from the Diversification and Expansion of International Law". In that sense, it (incl. the conclusions of the study group) provide an interesting framework for discussion of the topics of the NCCR "International Trade Regulation: From Fragmentation to Coherence" (to which I am happy to be a part of).
Various opinions have already been expressed about the report and its recommendations. Look at this excellent blog on international economic law and policy for some of these comments (thanks a lot, Egle).

Thursday, July 27, 2006

the generative internet

There is a paper by Jonathan Zittrain on internet generativity that is causing much stir. And it's worth it.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

on fragmentation

Having mentioned fragmentation and coherence and the broader framework, where hopefully my work will fit, there is a piece by Gunther Teubner and Andreas Fischer-Lescano on the concept of fragmentation (or should I say on the often misinterpreted concept of fragmentation) that deserves proper attention. Any comments on its complexity and possible further elaborations will be much appreciated.


The nature of this blog is multifarious. It will serve as an archive of personal and other people's findings, a diary and a communication platform. It is in essence an addendum to my research activities as part of the comprehensive undertaking of the Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research "International Trade Regulation - From Fragmentation to Coherence" ( The latter comprises 12 research initiatives that could be broadly subsumed under the overarching pursuit for coherence in international law. My humble contribution is to the subproject "eDiversity: The Legal Protection of Cultural Diversity in a Digital Networked Environment", which is led by Christoph Beat Graber of the i-call centre of the University of Lucerne (
This blog remains however a personal endeavour and all mistakes mine.