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Rachel Adams and Nóra Ní Loideáin

Virtual personal assistants (VPAs) are increasingly becoming a common aspect of everyday living. However, with female names, voices and characters, these devices appear to reproduce harmful gender stereotypes about the role of women in society and the type of work women perform. Designed to ‘assist’, VPAs – such as Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa – reproduce and reify the idea that women are subordinate to men, and exist to be ‘used’ by men. Despite their ubiquity, these aspects of their design have seen little critical attention in scholarship, and the potential legal responses to this issue have yet to be fully canvassed. Accordingly, this article sets out to critique the reproduction of negative gender stereotypes in VPAs and explores the provisions and findings within international women's rights law to assess both how this constitutes indirect discrimination and possible means for redress. In this regard, this article explores the obligation to protect women from discrimination at the hands of private actors under the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, and the work of the Committee on Discrimination Against Women on gender stereotyping. With regard to corporate human rights responsibilities, the role of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights is examined, as well as domestic enforcement mechanisms for international human rights norms and standards, noting the limitations to date in enforcing human rights compliance by multinational private actors.

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Paolo Cavaliere

The EU Code of Conduct on hate speech requires online platforms to set standards to regulate the blocking or removal of undesirable content. The standards chosen can be analysed for four variables: the scope of protection, the form of speech, the nature of harm, and the likelihood of harm. Comparing the platforms' terms of use against existing legal standards for hate speech reveals that the scope of speech that may be removed increases significantly under the Code's mechanism. Therefore, it is legitimate to consider the platforms as substantive regulators of speech. However, the Code is only the latest example in a global trend of platforms' activities affecting both the substantive regulation of speech and its governance. Meanwhile, States' authority to set standards of acceptable speech wanes.

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Oğulcan Ekiz

The starting point of this article is a short documentary film that I and five colleagues produced in the course of the Business of Film module at Queen Mary University of London's Intellectual Property Law LLM Programme. During the process of production, we faced some borderline issues regarding our unauthorized uses of others’ copyright works. When we put ourselves into the copyright's author's shoes, three problems arose regarding our use of possible limitations and exceptions: the lack of guidance; the fear of liability; and the unharmonized status of limitations and exceptions at an international level. This article examines these problems from a copyright policy perspective and invites documentary festivals to undertake a mission of guiding new documentary directors through the complex, unharmonized world of copyright limitations and exceptions.

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Ling Yu

Chinese law has adopted the safe harbour principle from American law which emphasizes that Internet Service Providers (ISPs) do not have a general obligation for monitoring. However, in judicial practice, the courts have put forward the requirement of duty of care. This paper analyses the Chinese courts’ judgments since 2001, when legislative protection of the ‘right to network dissemination of information’ was introduced. It intends to analyse the specific contents of the duty of care of ISPs and related impact factors in judicial practice, including the link model, link content, and whether to obtain economic benefits.

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Eskil Ullberg

This article is concerned with the producer market in patented technology, and whether price differentiation based on field-of-use – a common strategy adopted by businesses with high fixed costs – is economically efficient. The focus is on the licensing of Standard Essential Patents (SEPs) on Fair, Reasonable and Non-Discriminatory (FRAND) terms and conditions, including also the Internet of Things (IoT) applications, and the economic growth in the digital economy, especially for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). The central argument proposed is that the absolute difference in the value between usages of essential standardized technologies determines whether a single price for all usages or specific field-of-use prices are economically efficient. A small difference in value should result in a single price and a large difference in different prices. Pricing policy is critical to create a world-wide sustained technology development including contributions from, and applications for, emerging markets and developed markets, thereby growing the digital economy.

In this literature review, three evaluation angles of the literature are used: a market analysis under neo-classical assumptions of price-taking agents and marginal (incremental) value; an expanded market analysis where the willingness to pay (WTP) replaces marginal cost as criteria for what price should be paid for licences; and an analysis of market designs with similar characteristics as the SEP market in terms of risk, using experimental economics (behavioural) and auction theory. All analyses angles investigate the principle of field-of-use licensing, established already in the first known patent law in 1474.

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Edited by Eckhard Hein, Martin Riese and Bernhard Schütz