Governing Innovation and Expression: New Regimes, Techniques and Strategies

An Introduction


  • Katja Weckström



New multi-party agreements have changed the international intellectual property law landscape and increased its global impact. Two central actors, the EU and the US routinely leverage their bargaining strength by including extensive intellectual property chapters in their bilateral agreements with developing countries. A shift in international intellectual property law-making seems apparent. Stagnated multi-lateral processes in established forums such as the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the World Trade Organization (WTO) are abandoned and issues are shifted to faster side-tracks unburdened with even semi-open or semidemocratic decision-making. The pace of generating intellectual property norms with general or global effect thus remains high, but keeping step with contemporary legal problems has legitimacy costs. We also see a topical shift, where more general and controversial issues are decided in these new forums. Are these norms open to scrutiny from the rest of the legal system? Substantive intellectual property law-making is also in flux on the national and regional level. Patent laws are under reform in the EU and the US. Furthermore, the changing political and societal role of social media raises questions related to privacy and more generally the regulation of internet-based expression and communication. Social networks and location services challenge data protection and privacy laws. At the same time, criminal enforcement of intellectual property rights proliferates and the threat of damages may assume the role of a deterrent. The question of whether intellectual property rights holders may target internet service providers instead of direct infringers poses a direct challenge to our virtual infrastructure. New bottlenecks and gatekeepers emerge continuously. What are the legal hurdles social networks and internet service providers currently face? How should they be regulated – and why? The focus of the book is on new regimes, strategies and techniques in regulating such recent and on-going changes. The authors ask whether such reforms are “business as usual” or whether they could signify more fundamental changes in the way innovation, creativity and especially Internet-based expression are governed globally and locally. The book is divided in three parts under the following themes: New Innovation and Intellectual Property Regimes; Governing the Internet and Social Networks; and New Strategies and Techniques of Enforcement.