‘Big data’ and ‘big tech’ have become central topics in recent antitrust debate and regulation. For example, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) recently published a report on online platforms, expressing concerns that the major platforms like Google are now protected from competition by such strong incumbency advantages. Underlying the CMA's theory of harm is the essential facility theory of antitrust, under which Google's ability to control access to its click-and-query data is seen as preventing its rivals from competing effectively. EU jurisprudence has identified three criteria to determine whether data are an essential facility and whether access should be mandated. First, the data must be indispensable to compete in the market. Secondly, absent data sharing, technical improvements by competitors must be hampered or precluded. Thirdly, there must be no objective justification to refuse competitors access to the data. It is difficult to reconcile the authorities’ concerns with Google's click-and-query data with these criteria, however. Actual and potential alternatives exist; Google's competitors have been innovating in the search market for more than a decade; and there are objective reasons to limit data access, including threats to innovation and privacy concerns.
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Nick Dadson, Iain Snoddy and Joshua White
Ambroise Descamps, Timo Klein and Gareth Shier
In the modern economy, algorithms influence many aspects of our lives, from how much we pay for groceries and what adverts we see, to the decisions taken by health professionals. As is true with all new technologies, algorithms bring new economic opportunities and make our lives easier, but they also bring new challenges. Indeed, many competition authorities have voiced their concerns that under certain circumstances algorithms may harm consumers, lead to exclusion of some competitors and may even enable firms (knowingly or otherwise) to avoid competitive pressure and collude. In this article, we explain how algorithms work and what potential benefits and harms they bring to competition.
Edited by Sterling
This article aims to contribute to the copyright debate concerning Artificial Intelligence (‘AI’) creations. AI-created works could and should be protected by copyright law. However, existing answers to the issue of allocation of authorship remain somewhat unsatisfactory. A reasonable and practical solution to this issue, fortunately, could be established upon the doctrine of ‘authorship transfer’ (the initial transfer of authorship from the actual creator to a constructive author) in modern copyright law. The ‘control of the creative process’ theory can provide a reasonable and justifiable explanation of ‘authorship transfer’. The person, either a natural or a juridical one, who has exercised sufficient control over the creative process, should be constructed as an author of the outcome. This theory is quite flexible before the ever-changing AI technology that challenges copyright law. For AI-created works, the authorship is better transferred to a person behind the AI who had control over the creative process in order to safeguard the current copyright system and its founding principles.
Anne Peters, Heike Krieger and Leonhard Kreuzer
As a standard bridging law and other spheres of normativity, due diligence is pervasive across numerous areas of international law. This paper defines the features and functions of due diligence, illustrating how the concept's development reflects structural changes in the international legal order. Concerning their content, due diligence obligations can be separated into two overlapping types: procedural obligations and obligations relating to States' institutional capacity. Thus, due diligence serves to manage risks, compensate for States' freedoms being circumscribed through legalisation, expand State accountability and possibly stabilise the international order through ‘proceduralisation’. However, it is argued that due diligence cannot be characterised as a general principle of international law due to its diverse content in different fields of international law and its dependence on accompanying primary rules. Finally, it is contended that due diligence introduces certain risks, particularly by diluting States' substantive obligations and contributing to the rise of ‘informal’ international law.
Catherine Drummond and Patrick Simon Perillo
The ambiguity surrounding what constitutes a State's fair share of the global burden of mitigating climate change has undermined the ability of domestic climate change litigation to bring about emissions reductions which are collectively capable of meeting the goal of the Paris Agreement. When confronted with challenges to the adequacy of States' mitigation efforts, domestic courts have also drawn on States' international human rights law obligations. This paper argues that when applying these obligations, the uncertainty surrounding the fair share question must be resolved so as to ensure individual mitigation obligations which are collectively consistent with the Paris Agreement. The analysis focuses on the obligations under the European Convention on Human Rights and outlines how general principles of law applicable in situations involving causal uncertainty could be invoked to address the fair share question.
Prior to the Arab Spring uprisings in 2011, no constitutional protection for intellectual property (IP) existed in the many earlier constitutions of Egypt or Tunisia. It is remarkable and surprising therefore that, in 2014, IP clauses appeared in the post-revolutionary constitutions of both countries. This raises the key question: why add to the existing regulation of IP in this way. Is constitutional protection just another example of the inexorable strengthening of IP rights (IPRs) or could it be a means of constraining them, where necessary, to protect other rights? This article argues that including IP in a constitution may, rather than merely strengthening IP owners' rights, open IPRs up to competition against more fundamental constitutionally protected human rights and, for example, support the prioritization of the right to health. This could be a valid explanation for and potential use of the inclusion of IP in the Egyptian and Tunisian Constitutions.