Internet-related Legal and Policy Issues in Ireland: A Call

Last week, Lawrence Lessig wrote this on his blog:

Over the next couple weeks, I’m going to try to put together short presentations outlining arguments for five Internet-related proposals that I believe Congress should enact over the next year.

The five proposals are: copyright (orphan works), copyright (remix culture), network neutrality, spam and harmful to minors material. The first is now available.

Here is my proposal.

We have an election this year. Bloggers are stepping up to the plate. But what comes after the election? We know that a lot of interesting IP and IT law and policy issues will not be in manifestos or doorstep promises, but will make their way into Programmes for Government post-election, and into new Cabinet workplans. Shining a little pre-election light on what sort of law reform is desirable (rather than necessarily extracting electoral promises) is a key desirable outcome of this project.

This is where we borrow Lessig’s idea. This week, I’m calling on interested parties (interested being those (bloggers or not) with an interest in the legal and policy elements of the Internet, including copyright, digital media, network regulation, etc – i.e. taking the wide look that Lessig takes, or wider if necessary) to join in. Each person will be responsible for one proposal, of her or his choice. They can be essays, bullet points, draft legislation, powerpoint-style presentations, audio or video podcasts – whatever. And there is no demand for ideological or political consistency – each item stands alone.

The primary purpose is to get an idea of what the upcoming policy debates are all about. You’re expected to identify an existing law (“law” including whatever you want it to, and specifically including European directives, as a lot of the American issues are EU competence over here), and to suggest how it could be improved/amended/replaced/etc. This is a policy project, so it’s not about calls for increased budgets for X. But similarly, detailed legal texts are not demanded!

If you’re interested, have a look at what Lessig’s trying to do, and then contact me (through a comment or through the email address – see right sidebar). Indicate the law/directive/topic/issue you are going to write about. And don’t be shy…

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