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Intellectual Property Law and Freedom: between the national and the international

last modified Oct 05, 2012 03:32 PM
Research Associate on CIGREF Foundation sponsored project Intellectual Property Law and Freedom: between the national and the international

Research Associate
in intellectual property and global regulation

A CIGREF Foundation sponsored project on

Intellectual Property Law and Freedom: between the national and the international

Based at CRASSH from 1 January – 31 December 2013

Salary Range:  £27,528 - £35,938

Deadline : 12pm Friday 26 October 2013

Following the award of a CIGREF grant, CRASSH is seeking to appoint a researcher to examine the problems of regulating intellectual property in the global digital environment. The successful candidate will be expected to undertake comparative legal research on the mechanisms for copyright enforcement (particularly in relation to the unauthorised use of peer-to-peer distribution systems) as well as the protection of privacy on the internet in the US, Canada, Hong Kong, China, France and the UK. The researcher will also convene a series of high-level meetings of the leading global thinkers in the field. The ultimate product will be a research paper explaining the current tensions between national regulation and global distribution of intellectual products and exploring prospects for the near future. 

The successful candidate will be at a post-doctoral level or equivalent, with a track record in high-quality legal research and writing. Ideally the candidate will have a good knowledge of copyright and privacy law and experience of comparative legal research.

Summary of the Project
This project considers and interrelates two crucial areas of regulation of the digital domain from a national and international perspective.

The first area concerns the conflicting claims of regulation and freedom. (a) At present, different national jurisdictions have different and sometimes conflicting systems of regulation for digital networks and digital means of production (such as the DMCA in the USA, HADOPI in France and the Digital Economy Act in the UK). Yet, by very definition, the systems of digital communication are international. This leads to some profound tensions in the legal position of any agent wishing to maintain copyright and to regulate piracy. Must an action be brought in every country where infringement is said to occur? How are copyright owners to get to grips with a multiplicity of distinct sets of national regulations? (b) At present, and by contrast, there is a movement to use the international and open nature of the internet precisely to remove restrictions of copyright and regulation. There is a drive towards establishing what has become known as ‘commons’ – open access and free circulation of material. What are the implications of this for copyright holders? (c) How can the tension between (a) and (b) be understood and developed towards an agreed framework? Is increased regulation or increased freedom more conducive to public trust, creativity, innovation and the development of markets?

The second area concerns social networks and privacy. There is a parallel concern here between national and international perspectives. So, for example, if a violation of privacy occurs in an online environment, is the case to be brought in the place of production, the place of access, or the jurisdiction of the victim? Should special rules be developed for violations of privacy, or should similar enforcement mechanisms apply as for copyright? What privacy rights do users of social networks need? What social and ethical implications does this have for developers and users of such technologies? Can users contract out of their privacy rights? And how are the privacy rights of one user to be reconciled with the expressive interests of others?

Full details and to apply.

We are a network of researchers at the University of Cambridge who are interested in how the use of digital tools is transforming scholarship in the humanities and social sciences. This transformation spans both the content and practice of humanities research, as the diffusion of digital technologies opens up new fields of study and generates research questions which breach traditional disciplinary boundaries.

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