We are currently living through something of a digital
revolution that some are referring to as “Industry 4.0.” In
this world, not only are fresh industries springing into life that simply
couldn’t have existed before, but legacy industries are also changing the way
they operate in order to keep up with the ever-changing status quo.
In such a world, it’s harder than ever for law firms to get a
handle on exactly where they stand. There are certain firms, such as Withers
tech, that specialise in tech law and fully understand how to negotiate the
perpetually shifting sands, but what about the rest of us? In order to get a
handle on the situation, we’re putting two major digital industries under the
spotlight and asking how these emerging industries can and should be regulated.
When it comes to technological regulation it’s impossible not to
think of Facebook and the Cambridge
Analytica story. The inherent problem with social media,
however, is that it’s a platform propagated on sharing information.
That makes it incredibly difficult to regulate in any meaningful way. Sites such as YouTube have sworn by the concept of self-governance and it is true they have taken down millions of clips and that they employ thousands of people to scan clips for offensive or damaging content. Facebook too has over 30,000 people worldwide working on security and removed over 15 million pieces of violent content in between October and December last year.
The real problem, however, is do we cast legal blame at the sites themselves for ‘allowing’ content to be shared or the content creators themselves? Either way, tighter regulation would mean it was that much harder for hate spreaders to get their content seen and that much easier for those affected by it to seek out and claim legal reparations.
Streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify have
legitimately changed the way millions of people around the world consumer
music, to the extent that streams are now counted towards the official music
This is a sea change that brings with it a few very obvious legal
implications. Of course, online
music platforms are no strangers to legal troubles (we all
remember Napster, right?) but it’s only relatively recently that it has become
the most popular way to consume music.
This has led to a situation where artists and publishers are
constantly trying to sue
Spotify, as many simply don’t understand how licensing works
these days. This is a perfect example of a problem that needs fixing and regulating.
Of course, the problem with digital
regulation is that, if handled badly, it can stifle
creativity and growth. However, if handled subtly and with care, both
industries could move forward into a more legally sensible and fair world.