FML Blog

TTIP, copyright reform, antitrust and the end of the blog?

Thursday, July 24, 2014      Susan Clandillon      0
Susan Clandillon, author

(Left) Susan Clandillon, Communications trainee at EMMA/the Future Media Lab..

 

In the latest edition of our bi-weekly news roundup (the earlier posts can be read here), Susan Clandillon shares the news that caught her eye in the past two weeks. The news round-up is a way for the Future Media Lab. team and members of the Future Media Lab. network to share articles about innovations and developments in the media sector, including references to relevant media policy debates.

 

Here are Susan’s choices for this week:

 

1) This week EurActiv featured an article by Simon Lester, a trade policy analyst from the Cato Institute (US). This piece reflected on the recent ECJ ruling on ‘the right to be forgotten’. Lester makes the argument that this ruling could be affected, if not overturned by the introduction of Investor-state dispute settlements (ISDS) as part of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) – on which discussions entered their sixth round on the 14th July. These ISDSs, if implemented, would allow for the Google case to be re-examined before an international tribunal – a scenario many consider a threat to the legislative power of both the European and national courts. Lester further ponders what such a global court system would entail, and what it might mean for global governance.

 

2) A dispute between European Commissioners on the topic of intellectual property law and its application to the digital economy has this week resulted in the withdrawal of Michel Barnier’s (European Commissioner for internal market and services)white paper from the agenda – reports European Voices’ Nicholas Hirst. The white paper was met with strong opposition from European Commissioner for the digital agenda, Neelie Kroes, whose aim to facilitate the growth of a EU-wide digital market appears incompatible with the current copyright framework. Conversely, Barnier was also cautioned by José Manuel Barroso who warned that alterations to the current framework might upset existing business models. Alas the debate continues for copyright reform, and it will undoubtedly be back to the drawing board on this issue until at least early autumn.

 

3) This week also saw developments in the sphere of digital consumer rights as concerns grew that tech firms like Apple were targeting children through in-app purchases in so-called ‘free’ apps, and thus appeared to be violating European Union consumer law. European Voice outlines instances of children who have racked up debts in the thousands of euros through buying levels, virtual pets and virtual pet food within these apps – by virtue of the fact that their parent’s credit cards have been linked to the app via their Apple ID. Nicholas Hirst suggests solutions to these violations would be best reached through collaboration between national consumer bodies, the European Commission – especially the department for consumer policy – and the big tech companies. In the end greater transparency is required of these companies to ensure that the European app industry continues to prosper and grow. Indeed the Commission estimates that the app industry employs over one million people and this expected to generate revenue of €63 billon by 2018.

 

4) Reuters reports this week that European Union antitrust regulators are set to intensify their investigations into Google’s supposedsearch engine optimization practices. These investigations stem from a European Commission investigation launched in 2010 off the back of complaints by Microsoft and others which suggested that Google were promoting their own services at the expense of their competitors. Discussions on this matter will resume after the holiday period, and will be dealt with by the incoming commission.

 

5) A discussion on the end of the blog as a popular form of self-expression featured on theguardian.com this week, courtesy of an article by Meg Campbell. This piece mourns the end of the common blog, comparing the blogosphere to the ‘lost Friendster civilizations’ of years gone by. Campbell instead observes an influx of young people onto social networks which provide and instantaneous and visible emotional connection between strangers – as offered by Snapchat, Instagram and Whatsapp. Interesting here is the ephemeral quality of these social networks, especially in the case of Snapchat which sees users’ images disappearing within a maximum of 10 seconds. Today, young people appear concerned by content which is left lingering on the Web, which is only natural when we consider the context of digital surveillance in which we are currently living. While we might be saying goodbye to the personal blog however, Campbell indicates that the professional, corporate and entrepreneurial blog lives on; through fostering user engagement, involving and informing target audiences and advertising upcoming events.

 

Read something that you think needs to be shared? Share it with me! contact@futuremedialab.info


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