Elgar Law, Technology and Society series
Edited by Anne S.Y. Cheung and Rolf H. Weber
Chapter 9: Towards the seamless global distribution of cloud content
In the age of cloud computing, consumers expect content to be accessible anywhere, anytime. Although we rarely carry suitcases of books, CDs, DVDs or other cultural products across national borders, many of us now store a large volume of self-created or lawfully obtained content in the cloud. Using SaaS (software as a service), such as Facebook, Gmail, Instagram, Tumblr or Twitter, Internet users communicate with others via the cloud regardless of their present location. Since their arrival, cloud platforms and related services have posed considerable challenges to copyright holders. Thus far, many of the cloud-related discussions have focused on unauthorized content distribution through cloud lockers – the most notorious being Megaupload and Rapidshare. Such discussions resemble the earlier discussions on peer-to-peer file-sharing technology and Internet intermediary liability. Some commentators have also raised questions concerning the ownership of intellectual property in works stored in the cloud as well as privacy-related matters discussed in other chapters in this volume. Notwithstanding the myriad challenges cloud computing has posed to copyright holders, one cannot overlook the boundless opportunities this new technology has provided to rights holders for distributing copyright content across the world. To a large extent, the global distribution of cloud content has brought back the age-old discussion concerning the proper response to disruptive technology and the copyright industries’ repeated and arguably short-sighted efforts to protect outdated business models. To complicate matters further, cloud platforms and related services have raised new questions that have not been widely discussed in the digital technology debate.
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