8th Internet, Law and Politics Congress (IX). Government and Regulatory Policies

Notes from the 8th Internet, Law and Politics Congress: Challenges and Opportunities of Online Entertainment, organized by the Open University of Catalonia, School of Law and Political Science, and held in Barcelona, Spain, on 9-10 July 2012. More notes on this event: idp2012.

Communications on Government and Regulatory Policies
Chairs: Agustí Cerrillo Martínez, Senior Lecturer and Dean of the School of Law and Political Science of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC).

Guiding Principles for Online Copyright Enforcement.
Andrew McDiarmid, Senior Policy Analyst, Center for Democracy & Technology, Washington, DC (USA); David Sohn, General Counsel, Center for Democracy & Technology (USA).

Since the 2008, in the US there has been a pro-intellectual property regulation process, establishing the IP enforcement coordinator and increasing the resources for government enforcement. Principles for a balanced copyright enforcement:

  • Target true bad actors.
  • Preserve safe harbours.
  • Study the costs and benefits.
  • Voluntary initiatives must respect consumer interests.
  • Set realistic goals.
  • Education and lawful options are essential.

Domain Name-focused enforcement is a blunt instrument: entire sites are affected, including other sites. There are workarounds and it violates safe harbour cases. There is a harm to free expression due to overbreadth. There are risks of evasion.

Internet Co-Regulation and Constitutionalism.
Christopher T. Marsden, Director of the Essex Centre for Comparative and European Law. Senior Lecturer, Essex School of Law (UK).


  • Statute backed code, appointed by the Government. Threat of regulatory intervention.
  • Approved code, regulated by an independent body. Treat of sanctions.
  • Industry code, set by the industry associates. Industry self-interest.
  • Unilateral code, set by service providers. Individual self-interest.

Co-regulation (the independent body’s) is more interesting than statutory regulation or self (industry & unilateral) regulation, which are, notwithstanding, the ones that are more common.

Co-regulation says that civil society, the people, should have a formal role in it: multistakeholder-isation, it is a process and not a static model, e.g. the ICANN. This is yet to be enforced by governments and courts.

We need movement towards formal recognition and formalisation of co-regulation: Legislation 2.0

Electronic Democracy, Internet and Governance. A concretion.
Fernando Galindo Ayuda, Catedrático de Filosofía del Derecho, Universidad de Zaragoza.

Access to information: conscious participation of citizens over a specific matter. Governance as politics: the art of ruling in the pursuit of public well-being. The Internet is certainly boosting communication, but is it fostering democracy?

Reviving privacy: the opportunity of cyber-security.
Maria Grazia Porcedda, Research assistant, Department of Law, European University Institute, Florence (Italy).

What is cybercrime?

  • Crimes against availability, integrity and confidentiality of computer systems: illegal access and hacking, illegal interception, data interference (malware, botnets, trojans), system interference (DoS, DDoS).
  • Computer related: forgery, fraud.
  • Content-related crimes: child pornography.
  • Copyright infringement.

There are different notions of security and privacy, depending on where the weight is put between privacy and security and what is the approach towards cybercrime. But we can integrate de facto security and privacy. Cybersecurity is about protecting privacy, both by passive measures taken by educated users and by active measures against cybercrime.

PIPA, SOPA, OPEN — The end of piracy or privacy?
László Németh, PhD Student, Institute of Comparative Law, Faculty of Law, University of Szeged (Hungary).

PIPA and SOPA are similar in many ways: against foreign (rogue) sites, domain name seizure, in personam, in rem action, presumption of guilt, voluntary action, etc.

PIPA and SOPA have raised concerns, objections and even protests.

The OPEN act demands the web to be kept open.

We surely now need new global treaties (WIPO, WTO), and in the makings of these treaties the users should be asked for their opinion. Of course, one of the problems of “asking the users” is how to find valid interlocutors. The website KeepTheWebOpen.com includes the feature of commenting on the OPEN Act.


8th Internet, Law and Politics Conference (2012)