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Copyrighted and non-copyrighted Information Products, Freedom of Contract, and the Regulation of Conditions of Use in Mass-Market Licences

Objective



Research objectives and content

In today's Internet environment, "click and accept" type non-negotiated licenses are routine and preface many copyrighted and non-copyrighted works. It has become common practice to restrict or altogether bar a user's ability to use a work in ways that otherwise would be permitted under applicable law. Such developments have made the extent to which parties can seek to regulate activities otherwise permitted under laws governing works an issue critical to the viability of the Information Society. Accordingly, this project, which limits its examination to the UK, German and US jurisdictions, aims to examine whether limitations on the freedom of contract are necessary in the digital environment and if so, to what extent. The research asks whether the source of regulation should come from within the copyright framework or whether external sources, such as constitutional, competition or consumer protection laws, should be primarily relied upon as safety valves. Possible bases for regulation of non-negotiated contracts are proposed.

Training content (objective, benefit and expected impact)

I aim to gain a deeper knowledge and understanding of the English, German and US legal systems as well as the various economic and technological developments underlying today's Internet. In so doing, my effectiveness as an academic concerned with the international intellectual property area will be greatly increased. It is my desire to contribute to the debate surrounding the balancing of rights and expectations of creators of content with those of the user public.

Links with industry / industrial relevance (22)

In a society increasingly built on the use of information, it is of significant concern to all levels of pre-competitive and commercial activity whether restrictive contractual provisions on different types of uses, including competitive use, should be permissible and if so, to what extent.

Coordinator

The Chancellor, Masters and Scholars of the University of Cambridge
Address
West Road
CB3 9DZ Cambridge
United Kingdom