CONFERENCES: ONLINE MARKETS - OFFLINE WELFARE EFFECTS - DIGITAL ECONOMY - UPSTREAM SUPPLIERS - FREEDOM OF EXPRESSION

Digital economy, upstream suppliers and freedom of expression (Online markets and offline welfare effects: The Internet, competition, society and democracy - Oxford, 22 May 2017)

In the four decades of its existence, the internet has followed the life-cycle of earlier communications technologies in evolving from being open, generative and anarchic (or at any rate unregulated) to a network that has been largely captured by corporate interests. We are currently at the point where a small number of global corporations dominate most of the daily activity on the network. The affordances of digital technology and the unique characteristics of these corporations pose unprecedented challenges for antitrust and other regulatory concepts that were shaped in a pre-digital age. If society is to be able to control and regulate these corporations then new conceptualisations of corporate power and regulation are required.

Regulating digital giants: An unsolved – insoluble? – problemI. Introduction 1. In The Master Switch: The Rise and Fall of Information Empires, [1] Tim Wu, a legal scholar who has written extensively on intellectual property, telecommunications policy, Internet governance and the doctrine of “Net Neutrality,” chronicles the history of the great communications technologies of the 20th century—telephone, movies, broadcast radio and TV. 2. What history shows, Wu, argues, is that there is a pattern in the development of these technologies. His chronicle reveals “a typical progression of information technologies: from somebody’s hobby to somebody’s industry; from jury-rigged contraption to slick production marvel; from a freely accessible channel to one strictly controlled by a single

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John Naughton, Digital economy, upstream suppliers and freedom of expression (Online markets and offline welfare effects: The Internet, competition, society and democracy - Oxford, 22 May 2017), September 2017, Concurrences Review N° 3-2017, Art. N° 84702, www.concurrences.com

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