New community research initiative: The European Law&Tech Network

While many decades ago, the field of law and technology was focused on the study of intellectual property, more recently, legal scholars have extended their interest in technology to other fields such as the regulation and governance of the Internet, privacy and cybersecurity, data collection, digital platforms, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. The European Law and Technology Network brings together scholars from different nationalities and fields of research that are trying to understand how technology works and how law should respond to its challenges. The European Law and Technology Network is an initiative of two scholars affiliated with Dutch universities: Sofia Ranchordas has published extensively on the regulation of digital platforms and comparative public law. She is currently based at Leiden Law School and as of October 1st, 2017, she will be Chair of European & Comparative Public Law and Rosalind Franklin Fellow at Groningen Law School. Sofia is also affiliated with the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Catalina Goanta is an Assistant Professor of Private Law and affiliated MEPLI researcher who writes on consumer law, innovation policy, and is behind a number of local and international law and technology initiatives.

So far the network has gathered over 240 scholars from 22 European and Middle Eastern countries.

For more information on the Network and the opportunity to join it, have a look at its website.

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MEPLI’s Academic Director – Professor Jan Smits – New Dean of Law Faculty at Maastricht University

News for our MEPLI community and beyond!

As of 1 December 2017, MEPLI’s Academic Director and current chair of the Private Law Department, Jan Smits, will succeed Hildegard Schneider as new dean of the Faculty of Law.

Our leader and new dean has been a visiting scholar at various foreign institutes, including Tulane Law School, the University of Leuven, the University of Liège, Louisiana State University, Penn State Dickinson School of Law, and the University of Helsinki. From 2010 to 2012 he served as Hill Visiting Chair on the Internationalisation of Law and from 2013 to 2014 he served as Rotating Chair at Ghent University.

Jan Smits is a member of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW) and a titular member of the International Academy of Comparative Law (AIDC). He is also chair of the KNAW Law Department and a deputy judge at the Amsterdam Court of Appeal.

The official press release can be found on the website of the Law Faculty.

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Consumers on Fyre: Influencer Marketing and Recent Reactions of the United States Federal Trade Commission

 

*Content re-posted from the Stanford-Vienna Transatlantic Technology Law Forum  – Transatlantic Antitrust and IPR Developments, Bimonthly Newsletter, Issue No. 3/2017 (June 12, 2017)

 

Social Media Disruptions

Silicon Valley continues to change our world. Technology-driven innovations that are disseminated with the help of the Internet have met with great success. This success translates into heaps of followers, as one can see in the case of platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. However, it is the followers themselves who continually affect the purposes of these platforms. A good example in this sense is Youtube; what started out as an alternative channel for the sharing of low-resolution home videos soon became a place where users could actually create their own content professionally. If well-received, this content leads to real Internet phenomena, and eventually become monetized, via direct or indirect advertising. Individuals around the world now have access to their own TV-stations where they can attract funders and actually make a good living out of running their channels.

Online content creation raises issues that are similar to those in the sharing economy (e.g. Uber, Airbnb, etc.). On the one hand, online platforms connect individual content providers with viewers, in the same peer-to-peer fashion that AirBnB connects an apartment owner and a tourist. Given the service-orientation of both activities, provided they are monetized, a clear issue emerges: when does an individual stop being a peer? In other words, what does it mean to be a consumer in this environment? Relatedly, what legal standards apply to the process of creating such content?

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Innovating Justice Challenge 2017

What is Justice Innovation?

In the way that justice is synonymous with fairness, justice can refer to a broad range of issues. Within this broad range of issues, the HiiL Justice Accelerator is focused on a particular aspect of justice: the legal element.

The HiiL Justice Accelerator is focused on finding and supporting innovations that create rights awareness, provide resolution of disputes and legal problems or improve efficiency and transparency in the existing legal system.

In general, justice innovations fall into three categories:

  1. Legal information, awareness and education: legal education & rights awareness, data and transparency;
  2. Access to justice, legal services and dispute resolution: legal services – ‘Lawyers 2.0’, dispute systems and procedures, human rights and protective measures;
  3. Inclusive justice policies: rule-making and governance, compliance and enforcement, advocacy and corruption fighting.

For more on what a justice innovation is, click here to see some examples.

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‘Flawed Strategies to Reducing Labor Exploitations’, 17 May 2017, PhD defense by Mark Kawakami

The main question that this thesis addressed was what private actors – from the companies to the consumers and even the laborers themselves – can do differently than what they are currently doing to further reduce instances of labor exploitation taking place in the global supply chain. To answer this question, this thesis first offered a descriptive overview of popular legal instruments and strategies that private actors are currently employing by relying on labor/employment law, tort law, company law, and contract law. This descriptive overview also addressed various semi- or non-legal instruments and initiatives with the intended aim of reducing labor exploitations as well such as corporate social responsibility initiatives and ethical consumerism campaigns.

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