Internet use has become ubiquitous in the past two decades, but governments, legislators and their regulatory agencies are falling further behind rapidly changing Internet technologies and uses. In a ground-breaking collaboration, regulatory lawyer Marsden and computer scientist Brown analyze the regulatory shaping of "code"--the technological environment of the Internet--to achieve more economically efficient and socially just regulation. They examine five hard cases that illustrate the regulatory crisis: privacy and data protection, copyright and creativity incentives, censorship, social networks and user-generated content, and net neutrality. The authors describe the increasing "multistakeholderisation" of Internet governance, in which user groups are arguing for representation in the closed business-government dialogue, to bring in both rights-based and technologically expert perspectives. They draw out lessons for better future regulation from the regulatory and interoperability failures illustrated by the five cases. They conclude that governments, users and better functioning markets need a smarter "prosumer law" approach. Prosumer law would be designed to enhance the competitive production of public goods, including innovation, public safety, and fundamental democratic rights.
Ian Brown is Senior Research Fellow at Oxford University's Oxford Internet Institute. He is the editor of the 'Research Handbook on Internet Governance' (Elgar 2013). Christopher T. Marsden is Professor in Law at the University of Essex School of Law. He is the author of Net Neutrality: Towardsa Co-Regulatory Solution (2010), Internet Co-regulation (2011) and three otherbooks.