Some Issues For Future Consideration

The challenge for the future will be to resolve these issues to establish a comprehensive control mechanism which balances the rights of copyright owners on the one hand, whilst encouraging creativity and promoting accessibility on the other. Such a mechanism must, in recognising the digital nature of the Internet, interweave technological measures with legal provisions.

The challenge[1]  then is:

  • Whether states can apply or adapt existing laws and policies to the regulation of Internet activities, or whether new laws or policies are needed to regulate Internet conduct;
  • how to formulate a reasonable and proportional response when new regulation is needed;
  • how to craft laws that will be flexible enough to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances;
  • how to preserve fundamental human values in the face of economic or technological pressures tending to undermine them; and
  • how to coordinate with other nations in Internet law and policy making so that there is a consistent legal environment on a global basis.
  • right the copyright imbalance in cyberspace;[2]
  • there are more effective ways of restoring the copyright balance in cyberspace than creating exception to the anti-circumvention provisions;
  • impose limits on the situations in which copyright owners can use technological protection measures, and on the amount of works they can protect;
  • also the provision of direct government subsidies for making works available online.

The new copyright law should be shaped to address the challenges of digitalization. We should not be replicating the current copyright law and applying it to the digitalized world. Lessig suggests, “erect other limits to re-create the original space for liberty”.[3] Lessig also says “that every society has resources that are free and resources that are controlled.”[4] The awful aspect of this situation is that all efforts to expand or preserve the public domain are overrun by intellectual properties that seem to stifle knowledge and intellectual capital.

Barlow, says that the internet “can be expected to become the principal medium on information conveyance, and perhaps eventually, the only one”.[5] Barlow thesis rejects intellectual property rights in cyberspace which were designed for a different time and space.

“Intellectual property rights touch the lives of everybody who reads, listens to music, surfs the web, rents DVDs, or goes to the movies, who travels, who uses databases and borrows books from the local library or who goes to university, in fact it reaches down the innermost core of the human genome. If we are interested in how any or all of those resources are managed, ours would seem like a perfect time to look beyond the complexities of legalese, since few have such a large stake in what happens to culture and the public domain in the future as the public does.”[6]


[1] Samuelson, P., Five Challenges for Regulating the Global Information Society.

2000. http://www.sims.berkeley.edu/~pam/papers.html accessed 2 March 2006

[2] Forsyth, Miranda op cit p. 103.

[3] Lessig, Lawrence Code and other laws of cyberspace op cit p. 139

[4] Lessig, L. The Future of ideas: the fate of the commons in the connected world. Random House, 2001. p. 11

[5] Barlow, op cit n 35, at 2

[6] Litman, J.  Digital copyright in Wirten, E.H. No trespassing: authorship, intellectual poperty rights and the boundaries of globalization. University of Toronto Press, c2004. p. 148

1 Comment

Filed under Copyright Law, Cyberspace law, Intellectual Property Law

One response to “Some Issues For Future Consideration

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