Tag Archives: intellectual property

Call for papers: Critical Research in Information Law

Deadline 15 March 2017

The Information Law Group at the University of Sussex is pleased to announce its annual PhD and Work in Progress Workshop on 3 May 2017. The workshop, chaired by Professor Chris Marsden, will provide doctoral students with an opportunity to discuss current research and receive feedback from senior scholars in a highly focused, informal environment. The event will be held in conjunction with the Work in Progress Workshop on digital intermediary law.

We encourage original contributions critically approaching current information law and policy issues, with particular attention on the peculiarities of information law as a field of research. Topics of interest include:

  • internet intermediary liability
  • net neutrality and media regulation
  • surveillance and data regulation
  • 3D printing
  • the EU General Data Protection Regulation
  • blockchain technology
  • algorithmic/AI/robotic regulation
  • Platform neutrality, ‘fake news’ and ‘anti-extremism’ policy.

How to apply: Please send an abstract of 500 words and brief biographical information to Dr Nicolo Zingales  by 15 March 2017. Applicants will be informed by 30 March 2017 if selected. Submission of draft papers by selected applicants is encouraged, but not required.

Logistics: 11am-1pm 3 May in the Moot Room, Freeman Building, University of Sussex.

Afternoon Workshop: all PhD attendees are registered to attend the afternoon workshop 2pm-5.30pm F22 without charge (programme here).

Financial Support: Information Law Group can repay economy class rail fares within the UK. Please inform the organizers if you need financial assistance.

The Competence of the European Union in Copyright Lawmaking

competence-of-eu-in-copyright-lawmakingBook launch event at the IALS
6pm – 8pm, 15 Dec 2016

Register online at Eventbrite to book your free ticket

Speaker: Dr Ana Ramalho, Assistant Professor of Intellectual Property, Maastricht University

Discussant: Professor Lionel Bently, Herchel Smith Professor of Intellectual Property and Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law, University of Cambridge.

In this seminar Ana Ramalho will discuss her new book, which inquires into the competence of the EU to legislate in the field of copyright and uses content analysis techniques to demonstrate the existence of a normative gap in copyright lawmaking.

To address that gap Ana Ramalho proposes the creation of benchmarks of legislative activity, reasoning that EU secondary legislation, such as directives and regulations, should be based on higher sources of law.

In the book she investigates two such possible sources: the activity of the EU Court of Justice in the pre-legislative era and the EU treaties. From these sources Ana Ramalho establishes concrete benchmarks of legislative activity, which she then tests by applying them to current EU copyright legislation.

This provides examples of good and bad practices in copyright lawmaking and also shows how the benchmarks could be implemented in copyright legislation. Finally, Ana Ramalho offers some recommendations in this regard.

This seminar will be followed by the book launch of “The Competence of the European Union in Copyright Lawmaking: A Normative Perspective of EU Powers for Copyright Harmonization” by Ana Ramalho

Full Programme: Annual Workshop and Evening Lecture

Restricted and Redacted: Where now for human rights and digital information control?

The full programme for the Information Law and Policy Centre’s annual workshop and lecture on Wednesday 9th November 2016 is now available (see below).

For both events, attendance will be free of charge thanks to the support of the IALS and our sponsor, Bloomsbury’s Communications Law journal.

To register for the afternoon workshop please visit this Eventbrite page.
To register for the evening lecture please visit this Eventbrite Page.

Please note that for administrative purposes you will need to book separate tickets for the afternoon and evening events if you would like to come to both events.



11.15am: Welcome

  • Judith Townend, University of Sussex
  • Paul Wragg, University of Leeds
  • Julian Harris, Institute of Advanced Legal Studies, University of London

11.30am-1pm: PANEL 1 – choice between A and B

Panel A: Social media, online privacy and shaming

Chair: Asma Vranaki, Queen Mary University of London

  1. David Mangan, City, University of London, Dissecting Social Media: Audience and Authorship
  2. Marion Oswald, Helen James, Emma Nottingham, University of Winchester, The not-so-secret life of five year olds: Legal and ethical issues relating to disclosure of information and the depiction of children on broadcast and social media
  3. Maria Run Bjarnadottir, Ministry of the Interior in Iceland, University of Sussex, Does the internet limit human rights protection? The case of revenge porn
  4. Tara Beattie, University of Durham, Censoring online sexuality – A non-heteronormative, feminist perspective

Panel B: Access to Information and protecting the public interest

Chair: Judith Townend, University of Sussex

  1. Ellen P. Goodman, Rutgers University, Obstacles to Using Freedom of Information Laws to Unpack Public/Private Deployments of Algorithmic Reasoning in the Public Sphere
  2. Felipe Romero-Moreno, University of Hertfordshire, ‘Notice and staydown’, the use of content identification and filtering technology posing a fundamental threat to human rights
  3. Vigjilenca Abazi, Maastricht University, Mapping Whistleblowing Protection in Europe: Information Flows in the Public Interest

1-2pm: LUNCH 

2-3.30pm: PANEL 2 – choice between A and B

Panel A: Data protection and surveillance

Chair: Nora Ni Loideain, University of Cambridge

  1. Jiahong Chen, University of Edinburgh, How the Best Laid Plans Go Awry: The (Unsolved) Issues of Applicable Law in the General Data Protection Regulation
  2. Jessica Cruzatti-Flavius, University of Massachusetts, The Human Hard Drive: Name Erasure and the Rebranding of Human Beings
  3. Wenlong Li, University of Edinburgh, Right to Data Portability (RDP)
  4. Ewan Sutherland, Wits University, Wire-tapping in the regulatory state – changing times, changing mores

Panel B: Technology, power and governance

Chair: Chris Marsden, University of Sussex

  1. Monica Horten, London School of Economics, How Internet structures create closure for freedom of expression – an exploration of human rights online in the context of structural power theory
  2. Perry Keller, King’s College, London, Bringing algorithmic governance to the smart city
  3. Marion Oswald, University of Winchester and Jamie Grace, Sheffield Hallam University, Intelligence, policing and the use of algorithmic analysis – initial conclusions from a survey of UK police forces using freedom of information requests as a research methodology
  4. Allison Holmes, Kent University, Private Actor or Public Authority? How the Status of Communications Service Providers affects Human Rights

3.30-5pm: PANEL 3 – choice between A and B

Panel A: Intermediary Liability

Chair: Christina Angelopoulos, University of Cambridge

  1. Judit Bayer, Miskolc University, Freedom and Diversity on the Internet: Liability of Intermediaries for Third Party Content
  2. Mélanie Dulong de Rosnay, Félix Tréguer, CNRS-Sorbonne Institute for Communication Sciences and Federica Giovanella, University of Trento, Intermediary Liability and Community Wireless Networks Design Shaping
  3. David Rolph, University of Sydney, Liability of Search Engines for Publication of Defamatory Matter: An Australian Perspective

Panel B: Privacy and anonymity online

Chair: Paul Wragg, University of Leeds

  1. Gavin Phillipson, University of Durham, Threesome injuncted: has the Supreme Court turned the tide against the media in online privacy cases?
  2. Fiona Brimblecombe, University of Durham, European Privacy Law
  3. James Griffin, University of Exeter and Annika Jones, University of Durham, The future of privacy in a world of 3D printing



Lecture Title: Heads and shoulders, knees and toes (and eyes and ears and mouth and nose…): The impact of the General Data Protection Regulation on use of biometrics.

Biometrics are touted as one of the next big things in the connected world. Specific reference to biometrics and genetic data has been included for the first time in the General Data Protection Regulation. How does this affect existing provisions? Will the impact of the Regulation be to encourage or to restrict the development of biometric technology?

  • Speaker: Rosemary Jay, Senior Consultant Attorney at Hunton & Williams and author of Sweet & Maxwell’s Data Protection Law & Practice.
  • Chair: Professor Lorna Woods, University of Essex
  • Respondents: Professor Andrea Matwyshyn, Northeastern University and Mr James Michael, IALS

Information Law and Policy Centre Annual Lecture and Workshop

An afternoon workshop and evening lecture to be given by leading information and data protection lawyer Rosemary Jay.

Restricted and Redacted: Where now for human rights and digital information control?

The Information Law and Policy Centre is delighted to announce that bookings are now open for its annual workshop and lecture on Wednesday 9th November 2016, this year supported by Bloomsbury’s Communications Law journal.

For both events, attendance will be free of charge thanks to the support of the IALS and our sponsor, although registration will be required as places are limited.

To register for the afternoon workshop please visit this Eventbrite page.

To register for the evening lecture please visit this Eventbrite Page.

Please note that for administrative purposes you will need to book separate tickets for the afternoon and evening events if you would like to come to both events.

11am – 5pm (lunch and refreshments provided)

For the afternoon part of this event we have an excellent set of presentations lined up that consider information law and policy in the context of human rights. Speakers will offer an original perspective on the way in which information and data interact with legal rights and principles relating to free expression, privacy, data protection, reputation, copyright, national security, anti-discrimination and open justice.

We will be considering topics such as internet intermediary liability, investigatory and surveillance powers, media regulation, freedom of information, the EU General Data Protection Regulation, whistleblower protection, and ‘anti-extremism’ policy. The full programme will be released in October.

6pm-7.30pm (followed by reception)

The afternoon workshop will be followed by a keynote lecture to be given by Rosemary Jay, senior consultant attorney at Hunton & Williams and author of Sweet & Maxwell’s Data Protection Law & Practice. Continue reading

The socio-legal aspects of 3D printing: Between “chaos” and “control”

Socio-legal aspects bookNot so long ago 3D printing was being discussed alongside the internet, file sharing and digital currencies as a sign of the beginning of an era of post-control and post-scarcity.

There were fears that governments would struggle to regulate the activities of a new generation of “prosumers” (producer-consumers) and that economic and legal certainties would be challenged by an increase in the decentralised “free” supply of goods.

Last night, at the Information Law and Policy Centre, Dr Angela Daly and Dr Dinusha Mendis presented a more nuanced view of the prospects of 3D printing as a “disruptive” technology to mark the launch of Daly’s new book, Socio-Legal Aspects of the 3D Printing Revolution.

Daly, a research fellow at Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Law, shared findings from postdoctoral research at the Swinburne University of Technology considering the legal aspects of 3D printing from the standpoint of the US, UK-EU and Australian legal systems.

s200_angela.dalyDaly’s transnational lens enabled her to identify a number of divergent legal approaches to 3D printing in relation to exceptions to infringement, intermediary liability, copyright and DMCA takedowns.

She found that the legal implications of 3D printing were hard to generalise despite attempts at the harmonisation of international law. More often the legal status of 3D printing was both nationally and scenario specific. To this end, Daly noted that it would also be interesting to research how legal jurisdictions in emerging economies were tackling 3D printing.

Focussing particularly on the potential problems created for Intellectual Property law by 3D printing, Daly concluded that the technology was neither leading to “total chaos” nor “total control”.

She highlighted that 3D printing has not yet become a mainstream practice – despite entry level 3D printers selling for around £500, far fewer people own one than they do a smartphone or computer. Daly also emphasised that incumbent businesses and companies are incorporating 3D printing into their business models.

She stated, therefore, that although there was some chaos around the edges – such as the ability for people to print 3D guns – the overall picture was that from a socio-legal perspective the technology was not currently particularly ‘disruptive’.

Dinusha MendisDaly’s position was reinforced by a presentation from Dr Dinusha Mendis, Co-Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM) at Bournemouth University. Mendis has conducted research on the Intellectual Property and Copyright implications of 3D printing including work which was commissioned by the UK government’s Intellectual Property Office.

Of fundamental concern here is the potential illegal copying and use of the computer-aided design (CAD) files required to print objects in 3D. Her research identified hundreds of online platforms for the distribution of 3D printing files which were providing access to hundreds of thousands of designs.

Mendis’ research into online platforms reveals that interest in 3D printing has grown immensely between 2008 and 2014, but she identified limitations to the spread of the practice.

Potential users do not always have access to the right materials, funds to be able to purchase more sophisticated printers or the legal knowledge to license their work. Moreover, companies and businesses in this field informed her that there was currently little commercial impact on either automotive or domestic products. They predicted that 3D printing would remain limited for the next five to ten years.

For both Mendis and Daly, then, 3D printing has not yet lived up to initial hype over its ‘disruptive’ potential. Mendis recommended a ‘wait and see’ approach to UK government, concerned that legislating too hastily in this area might stifle creativity.

Nevertheless, as 3D printing technology improves and becomes cheaper, it might become the focus of increasing interest for legal scholars in the future.

Further Reading

A. Daly (2016) Socio-Legal Aspects of the 3D Printing Revolution, Palgrave MacMillan: UK
D. Mendis (2015) A Legal and Empirical Study into the Intellectual Property Implications of 3D Printing.
D. Mendis (2014) “Clone Wars”: Episode II – The Next Generation: The Copyright Implications relating to 3D Printing and Computer-Aided Design (CAD) Files. Law, Innovation and Technology, 6 (2), 265-281.
D. Mendis (2013) ‘The Clone Wars’ – Episode 1: The Rise of 3D Printing and its Implications for Intellectual Property Law – Learning Lessons from the Past?,  European Intellectual Property Review, 35 (3), 155-169.

Upcoming Event: 3D Printing in Law and Society

The Information Law and Policy Centre at IALS is pleased to announce the following lecture and book launch:

  • Date: Tuesday, 12 July 2016, from 18:00 to 19:00
  • Location: Institute for Advanced Legal Studies (IALS), University of London
  • Speaker: Dr Angela Daly, Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow, Queensland University of Technology Faculty of Law; Research Associate, Tilburg Institute of Law, Technology and Society
  • Discussant: Dr Dinusha Mendis, Co-Director, Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM), Bournemouth University
  • Please click here to book via the IALS Eventbrite page

Additive manufacturing or ‘3D printing’ has emerged into the mainstream in the last few years, with much hype about its revolutionary potential as the latest ‘disruptive technology’ after the Internet to destroy existing business models, empower individuals and evade any kind of government control. This lecture will examine some of these themes from a socio-legal perspective, looking at how various areas of law (including intellectual property, product liability, gun laws, data privacy and fundamental/constitutional rights) interact with 3D printing theoretically and in practice and comparing this interaction to that of the Internet before it. Despite rhetoric proclaiming that it is ushering in the end of government control and corporate-enforced scarcity, 3D printing, especially consumer-oriented printers, may not be as disruptive to law and society as commonly believed. This is because 3D printing is not just empowering ‘prosumers’, but government and corporate actors that have been investigating the potential of 3D printing for their own purposes, which may in the end just reinforce existing hierarchies and distributions of power.

This seminar will be followed by the book launch of ‘Socio-Legal Aspects of the 3D Printing Revolution’ by Angela Daly (Palgrave, 2016).


Angela Daly recently joined Queensland University of Technology’s Faculty of Law as Vice Chancellor’s Research Fellow and research associate at the Tilburg Institute for Law, Technology and Society. She is a socio-legal scholar of technology with expertise in intellectual property, human rights (privacy and free expression), and competition and regulation. She is the author of ‘Socio-Legal Aspects of the 3D Printing Revolution’ (Palgrave 2016), which was based on her postdoctoral research at the Swinburne Institute for Social Research, and ‘Private Power, Online Information Flows and EU Law’ (Hart 2017), which was based on her doctoral research at the European University Institute. She also has degrees from Oxford University and the Université de Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne and has previously worked for Ofcom and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Dinusha Mendis is an Associate Professor in Law at Bournemouth University and Co-Director of the Centre for Intellectual Property Policy and Management (CIPPM). Dinusha specialises in Intellectual Property Law, in particular copyright law, copyright licensing and digital copyright policy, and has published widely in this area. Her research also includes exploring the challenges to intellectual property law as a result of emerging technologies. In this context, she has conducted extensive funded and independent research on the intellectual property implications of 3D printing and emerging technologies. She has been invited to speak on the topic at the European Parliament; the Office for Harmonization in the Internal Market (OHIM); the UK House of Lords and at various academic organisations, as well as for blue-chip industry clients. During 2015, Dinusha was on research leave and held appointments as a Visiting Scholar at the University of Tasmania Australia and Stanford Law School, University of Stanford California. Dinusha holds qualifications from the Universities of Aberdeen (LLB (Hons)); Edinburgh (LLM, PhD); Nottingham Trent University (BVC), has been Called to the Bar of England and Wales and is a member of the Honourable Society of the Middle Temple Inn, London.


Can copyright save news? And should it?

In this guest post Dr Richard Danbury, research associate, University of Cambridge, looks at news business models, and asks ‘Do we need legal interventions to facilitate the production of news?’

I’m not supposed to be in the blame game, but it’s always been at the back of my mind – when did we start doing it? Why did we do it? And – not that I’m searching for a scapegoat, but who did it? It’s a question I can’t help asking, a journalistic poser akin to pondering who cut down the last tree on Easter Island: when the last tree was toppled, the island became deforested – where did they think they’d get their firewood from? The question in journalistic terms is when we started giving news away for free, where did we think the money would come from?

I got one answer earlier this autumn at the CREATe conference, in Glasgow, two days of fascinating interdisciplinary discussion about copyright and the creative industries, when Bill Thompson admitted it was him, he did it in 1996. In the Guardian’s offices. And he ended his account of his conversation with Alan Rusbridger, arguing that material should be posted free at the point of use with prophetic words. He told his editor “Money will come.” At this point Bill paused in his presentation. And then resumed with the words: “they believed me”.

This conversation is heralded by an even earlier progenitor of the news online world. In this great clip for example, from 1981, which tells the story of what was then the ‘newest form of electronic journalism’. From KRON-TV, a San Francisco-focussed channel, It’s worth a watch: complete with early 1980s hair, and the sort of computers you plug into cathode ray TVs, and the sort of modems (remember them? My children don’t) that you insert a telephone into, it tells the story of an early experiment in online news dissemination. It’s shot in that great NTSC format – ‘Never Twice the Same Colour’ as BBC editors used to say.

Bill’s point here is prefigured, fifteen years earlier, by David Cole of the San Francisco Examiner, one of the first hacks to post news online. In his short interview he comes out with the glorious snippet: “we’re not in it to make money – we’re probably not going to lose a lot, but we aren’t going to make much either”.

And that, of course, is the rub. Has it yet been worked out how to make money from online distribution of news? Sort of – by changing business models, perhaps. Or having a close look at Buzzfeed. But not quite.

The problem is well-known, and multi-faceted. It’s well-known, for example, that part of the problem is this issue of giving something away for free that costs money to produce. If your readers or audience can get it for free, why should they pay you for it? You can’t compete, as they say, with free.  (Though sometimes, perhaps, you can.) Clearly, according to the video, this aspect of the problem as posed by online delivery didn’t appear that acute in 1981. This was largely because accessing the news online in 1981 wasn’t free. As the outro in the studio smugly observes, downloading the online newspaper in 1981 took over two hours and cost $5 an hour, and so didn’t pose much competition for the 20 cents paper edition. Not in 1981 it didn’t. But now – well, such smugness went years ago.

But there are other aspects to the problem, and in this respect the 1981 clip carries on giving. At the end of the report the user, Richard Halloran (wonderfully described on screen as “Owns Home Computer”) observes that a benefit of the brave new way of delivering news is that it can be copied.  And here we move away from the problem of giving news away for free, to the problem of copying news. The ability to copy news poses difficulties from those paying money for news to be generated, and hoping to make money from its being distributed. In fact, it’s not the ability to copy news and save it onto a piece of paper, which Mr Halloran sees as the future, but the facility provided by online distribution to copy news quickly, readily, completely and in such a way that further dissemination is easy and of negligible cost. Paper need not come into it.

What’s to be done – if anything – about that? This question – or these questions – are a focus of the AHRC funded research project into how and whether there should be legal interventions to facilitate the production of news, and in particular the preservation of revenue for news producers by use of copyright, in the digital environment.

The project, of which I’m research associate, is being carried out under the joint auspices of Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies and Cambridge University’s Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law. It’s overseen by Professors Ian Hargreaves and Lionel Bently. The aim is to try and look at one aspect of this problem of news producing institutions can turn a profit in the online era.

The aspect we’re focussing on is what legal interventions could be employed, and whether they’re merited. The focus is particularly on copyright. The starting point is to research what copyright-based laws have already been used or proposed that are intended to enhance or protect the revenue of news producing institutions.

Some examples: in this country, there’s the example of the “Meltwater” litigation, which has led to, or at least reinforced, the conclusions that headlines and short text extracts may well be subject matter capable of copyright protection. This at first sight may lead to a cause of action, and hence potential revenue, from online news distributors such as Google News and commercial news aggregators such as Meltwater.

The UK litigation was shaped by developments elsewhere, which also affect the possible ability of news producers to make money. Most notably the Meltwater litigation drew on Danish cases which made their way up to the Court of Justice of the European Union, in the Infopaq I and Infopaq II. These cases examined the legality of a media monitoring organisation that scanned newspapers, converted the scans to text and then searched the text. The cases considered the ambit of an EU directive which on some readings provided an exemption to copyright liability – and hence a reason why news institutions should be prevented from deriving revenue for the reuse of the news they produce. The cases are summarised here.

Elsewhere, the German government last year passed a law which provided press publishers with an ancillary right to their product, should it be copied by aggregators. Google seems to have responded by making Google News opt-in, rather than pay publishers a levy. A recent Spanish law, passed in November and in force next year may not fall foul of this, as legislators have drafted it as an inalienable right – the law is discussed here.

What will be the effects of these laws? Clearly, however, this is only one aspect of the issue. Interesting questions remain on the horizon as to whether such interventions are merited, evaluated not only with reference to the jobs that newspapers provide and the revenue they generate for the country, but also with reference to the effect of such interventions on our society. This, of course, is a tricky area. Some may argue that, as the internet has seen the development of a Fifth Estate, an internet-based form of democratic accountability, interventions to protect the Fourth Estate are unnecessary. Others may argue that other effects of the internet, such as the echo-chamber, which unhealthily curtails the stream of information flowing to people in society, and narrows rather than broadens their horizons, mean intervention is indeed necessary. Such arguments are to some extent well-ventilated, such as here and here, and will pose food for thought.

What may be lacking is a consideration of the type of content that copyright might protect, and an evaluation of its effect on society. In other words, perhaps copyright should not be quite as agnostic as it sometimes appears about the nature of the content it protects.

But for the moment we have at least answered a simpler question and discovered one piece of the puzzle, with Bill’s account of the earliest years of Guardian online. Perhaps they were right to believe him. Perhaps money will come.

Richard DanburyRichard Danbury is research associate on the AHRC-funded study: “Appraising Potential Legal Responses to Threats to the Production of News in the Digital Environment”. Contact: Rmd59@cam.ac.uk / @richarddanbury

More information about the study can be found on project pages at: the Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law (CIPIL), University of Cambridge; Cardiff School of Journalism, Media and Cultural Studies (JOMEC); and CREATe.

Related links:

Update: Google reports (11 December) that as a result of a new Spanish intellectual property law [PDF], it will “shortly have to close Google News in Spain”. In a blog post, Richard Gingras, Head of Google News, says: “This new legislation requires every Spanish publication to charge services like Google News for showing even the smallest snippet from their publications, whether they want to or not. As Google News itself makes no money (we do not show any advertising on the site) this new approach is simply not sustainable. So it’s with real sadness that on 16 December (before the new law comes into effect in January) we’ll remove Spanish publishers from Google News, and close Google News in Spain.” Also see short commentary, with more detail of the Spanish IP law reform, on IPKat here.