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Lucas Osborn

This chapter analyses intellectual property (IP) law’s digital future, focusing primarily on the emerging technology of three-dimensional (3D) printing. To date, digital technologies (such as music and image encoding and playback) have overwhelmingly impacted copyright law, with legal battles surrounding the piracy of copyrighted music, books and movies dominating the headlines and literature. After a brief introduction to IP law, this chapter will briefly summarize IP law’s digital past because it contains helpful lessons for its digital future. Unlike the past, however, in which copyright law sustained the brunt of digital challenges, IP law’s digital future will present challenges across the IP spectrum. The remainder of the chapter will consider these challenges. Because the subject is vast and space is limited, the chapter will focus the majority of its analysis on 3D printing’s effects on patent law. It will also briefly outline the challenges other IP laws will face and will conclude by providing thoughts about reacting to these challenges.

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Sven H. De Cleyn and Gunter Festel

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Edited by Sven H. De Cleyn and Gunter Festel

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Joel West and Anne Greul

Despite an increasingly digital world, we see a movement towards physical user communities which coexist besides virtual, digital communities. This ‘old-fashioned’ face-to-face interaction within those communities attracts an increasing number of individuals who are unified in their common interest for a certain activity, technology or topic. This chapter focuses on a specific form of physical communities, so-called ‘makerspaces’. All kinds of makers, both hobbyists as well as prospective entrepreneurs, use these local facilities to get access to a broad variety of tools and equipment in order to realize their diverse projects. Seeking to understand this development, we analysed the societal and economic forces that led to a broad dissemination of these makerspaces within different countries and that caused individuals to increasingly leverage these facilities. For that purpose, we conducted an observation- and interview-based field study that included 32 semi-structured interviews with active members and staff from local makerspaces across Southern California. We found that three major themes drive the nature and success of local makerspaces: access to tools, personal locus of control that includes an empowerment of individuals to become independent, and the social interaction among members. Accordingly, local makerspaces provide not only access to tools and equipment, but serve also as a physical platform of social exchange where people with the same interests meet and support each other. Regardless of their long-term success, the impact that local makerspaces have already had on entrepreneurial endeavours and consumers’ attitude towards creating tangible objects cannot be denied.

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Neil M. Richards and Jonathan H. King

In our inevitable big data future, critics and sceptics argue that privacy will have no place. We disagree. When properly understood, privacy rules will be an essential and valuable part of our digital future, especially if we wish to retain the human values on which our political, social and economic institutions have been built. In this chapter we make three simple points. First, we need to think differently about ‘privacy’. Privacy is not merely about keeping secrets, but about the rules we use to regulate information, which is and always has been in intermediate states between totally secret and known to all. Privacy rules are information rules, and in an information society, information rules are inevitable. Second, human values rather than privacy for privacy’s sake should animate our information rules. These must include protections for identity, equality, security and trust. Third, we argue that privacy in our big data future can and must be secured in a variety of ways. Formal legal regulation will be necessary, but so too will ‘soft’ regulation by entities like the Federal Trade Commission, and by the development of richer notions of big data ethics.

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Marc Pilkington

This chapter expounds the main principles behind blockchain technology and some of its cutting-edge applications. We first present the core concepts of the blockchain. Secondly, we discuss a definition put forward by Vitalik Buterin, we sketch out the shift toward hybrid solutions, and we sum up the main features of decentralized crypto-ledger platforms. Thirdly, we show why the blockchain is a disruptive and foundational technology, but we expose the potential risks and drawbacks of public distributed ledgers that account for the shift toward hybrid solutions. Finally, we present a non-exhaustive list of important applications, bearing in mind the most recent developments.

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Sascha Friesike and Benedikt Fecher

Digital technologies hold great promise for scientific progress. The resulting changes in the academic research landscape have often been dubbed a ‘scientific revolution’. In theory, online tools and the ability to create instant networks around the world could speed up scientific progress immensely. In practice, however, many scientists are hesitant to grasp these possibilities. In this chapter we present three opportunities for research in a digital age. These practices are: collaboration, participation and transparency. We argue that these three build on one another, and that research communities therefore have to go through a step-by-step adoption process. We highlight our argument with examples where this is already the case and show that the adoption of the three practices allows researchers to solve increasingly complex research questions. In the second half of the chapter we explain the challenges of the adoption process and we highlight the possible downsides of a further digitized academic research landscape. We conclude by presenting ways of counteracting these problems, which will enable academia to make the most of the digital possibilities. We also identify the stakeholders who can move the academic system forward and explain how they can help academia to seize the opportunities of digitized research.

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Simonetta Vezzoso

Big data is an important phenomenon injecting transformative effects into social and economic relationships. Consumers, firms and machines produce unprecedented amounts of data collected, stored and analysed by leveraging the synergic capabilities of mathematics, computer science and the Internet. With the full advent of the Internet of Things, even more data will be observed about, and inferred from, individuals’ everyday activities and habits. The implied promise of big data is that it is increasingly possible to gain valuable insights out of unstructured data collected from different sources. Firms in many industries are increasingly using computer algorithms and big quantities of data to handle problems of analysis and prediction, from market intelligence to strategic management and automated decision-making. Acknowledging the growing potential for big data to have an immediate and direct impact on a broad range of human interactions, conversations within policy circles are starting to focus on how this phenomenon should factor into the competition policy framework itself. While big data can enhance competition, improve product offerings and create a marketplace where resources are allocated more efficiently, the chapter argues that competition policy designers and enforcers are bound to deal with unprecedented data-related challenges. The chapter starts with a description of the big data value chain, highlights in particular how data collection, storage and analysis are driving many of the multisided business models of the digital economy, summarizes some well-known peculiarities of data as an economic asset and sets the framework for the analysis of the effects of big data on competition processes. The chapter concludes by drawing a few preliminary implications for competition policy. In particular, big data could have the effect of making collusion more prevalent, stable and difficult to detect, of reshaping traditional relationships within a vertical supply chain by increasing forms of dependency and potentially restraining inter-platform competition and user behaviour, of increasing market concentration, and, finally, of enabling further abuses of market power.

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Eric Jardine

Internet-based crime is a pressing problem. Some crimes, such as the sale of drugs and guns and the distribution of child abuse imagery, have shifted into the applications, forums and chatrooms of the Internet. Other crimes, such as data breaches and identity theft, ransomware and distributed denial of service attacks, are launched via the infrastructure of the network. Cybersecurity policies designed to counter these activities have predictably different effects across the various types of Internet-based crime. Dark Web indexing and Internet service provider botnet mitigation strategies, as two examples, affect some forms of cybercrime more than others. In particular, this chapter outlines how Internet-based crime varies along a continuum from crime in the applications of the Internet to crime via the infrastructure of the system. It then shows how cybersecurity strategies have differential effects across the various cybercrime types.

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Stéphane Onnée and Sophie Renault

This chapter reports on the crowdfunding phenomenon and expounds its principles, trends and issues. Based on analyses of primary and secondary French data, we illustrate and discuss the recent academic literature on crowdfunding. We stress the relationships between crowdfunding and crowdsourcing. The advantages and disadvantages of crowdfunding are also presented. We show that crowdfunding is an ecosystem still under construction. We rely on ‘multisided platform theory’ to explain the strategies implemented by competing platforms and give some prescriptions to mobilize a crowd and to finance a project successfully.