Media Law Prof Blog

Editor: Christine A. Corcos
Louisiana State Univ.

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Garon on Television's Early Transformation from Medium to Genre

Jon Garon, Shepard Broad College of Law, is publishing Hidden Hands that Shaped the Marketplace of Ideas: Television's Early Transformation from Medium to Genre in volume 19 of the University of Denver Sports and Entertainment Law Journal (2016). Here is the abstract.

In a few decades from the beginning of national radio broadcasts to the Post-War cultural explosion, artists, politicians, lawyers, and spies forged the Golden Age of Television. Conflicting pressures of media censorship, modernist design, American hegemony, expressionist art, anti-communist legislation, and TV ownership limitations clashed and reshaped the cultural identity of the American viewer. These forces competed for dominance, shaping the content, empowering new producers, and setting new standards for artist and viewer alike. Studies on the broadcast industry marketplace assessed the efficiency of broadcast licensing but failed to identify either the influences or goals of the emerging television market. This article develops the origins of television from its beginning in radio and film innovations. It then chronicles the surprising influences of modern art as part of the government's strategy to address Cold War concerns. Cold War politics, nascent marketing strategies, and cutthroat business practices combined to shape the Golden Age of Television. This article adds a legal and business commentary to television's early engagement with expressionist art and the risk-taking in the dynamic new medium.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 29, 2016 | Permalink

Adler on Fair Use and the Future of Art

Amy Adler, New York University School of Law, is publishing Fair Use and the Future of Art in volume 91 of the New York University Law Review (2016). Here is the abstract.

Twenty-five years ago, in a seminal article in the Harvard Law Review, Judge Leval changed the course of copyright jurisprudence by introducing the concept of “transformativeness” into fair use law. Soon thereafter, the Supreme Court embraced Judge Leval’s new creation, calling the transformative inquiry the “heart of the fair use” doctrine. As Judge Leval conceived it, the purpose of the transformative inquiry was to protect the free speech and creativity interests that fair use should promote by offering greater leeway for creators to build on preexisting works. In short, the transformative standard would ensure that copyright law did not “stifle the very creativity which that law [was] designed to foster.” This Article shows that the transformative test has not only failed to accomplish this goal; the test itself has begun to “stifle the very creativity which that law was designed to foster.” In the realm of the arts, one of the very areas whose progress copyright law is designed to promote, the transformative standard has become an obstacle to creativity. Artistic expression has emerged as a central fair use battleground in the courts. At the same time that art depends on copying, the transformative test has made the legality of copying in art more uncertain, leaving artists vulnerable to lawsuits under a doctrine that is incoherent and that fundamentally misunderstands the very creative work it governs. The transformative test has failed art. This Article shows why and what to do about it, turning to the art market itself as a possible solution to the failure of the transformative use test.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 29, 2016 | Permalink

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Aplin on Filling the IP Gap: Privacy and Tabloidism

Tanya Aplin, King's College London, is publishing Filling the IP Gap: Privacy and Tabloidism, in Research Handbook on Intellectual Property in Media and Entertainment (M. Richardson and S. Ricketson eds., Edward Elgar, 2016). Here is the abstract.

This chapter examines how confidential information and trade secrets is used to combat privacy intrusions by tabloid media. It examines the genesis and scope of the English tort of misuse of private information, the extent to which this action overlaps with breach of confidence and the impact of trade secret protection on privacy.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

September 27, 2016 | Permalink

Worthy @benworthy1 on Freedom of Information and the Media

Ben Worthy, University of London, Birkbeck College, has published Freedom of Information and the Media. Here is the abstract.

The media are a powerful constituency of users, lobbyists and defenders of Freedom of Information (FOI) laws. This chapter examines how journalists use the laws in the UK and work to protect and extend it. It also looks at how media use is seen to damage trust in the political system and can generate resistance from government. It ends by arguing that FOI must be viewed in context and now fits within a rapidly changing information eco-system and a shifting and hybrid media environment.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 27, 2016 | Permalink

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Buccafusco @cjbuccafusco and Sprigman @CJSprigman on the Empirical Testing of IP Law's Foundations

Christopher Buccafusco, Cardozo Law School, and Christopher Jon Sprigman, New York University School of Law, are publishing Experiments in Intellectual Property in 2 Research Handbook on the Economics of Intellectual Property Law (Peter Menell & David Schwartz, eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016). Here is the abstract.

Perhaps more than any other area, intellectual property (IP) law is grounded in assumptions about how people behave. These assumptions involve how creators respond to incentives, how rights are licensed in markets, and how people decide whether to innovate or borrow from the culture and technologies that they see around them. Until recently, there had been little effort to validate any of these assumptions. Fortunately, the last decade has witnessed significant interest in empirically testing IP law’s foundations. This Chapter discusses the use of experimental and survey methods to understand how various features of copyright and patent law affect behavior. These methods are a valuable addition to the empirical toolkit, because they allow researchers to ask and answer questions that are not generally possible to approach with other empirical strategies. We first discuss some of the advantages of using experimental research. Then we highlight some of the findings that this research has produced in the copyright and patent fields thus far. Finally, we explore a variety of methodological issues that experimental researchers face.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

September 22, 2016 | Permalink

King on the Right of Publicity for Tattoo Copyrights

Yolanda King, Northern Illinois University College of Law, is publishing The Right-of-Publicity Challenges for Tattoo Copyrights in volume 16 of the Nevada Law Journal (Spring 2016). Here is the abstract.

This Article is the third and final piece of a series of articles that examine the applicability of intellectual property law to tattoos. The second article in the series, The Enforcement Challenges for Tattoo Copyrights, concluded that copyright owners can and should enforce their rights against users outside of the tattoo artist-customer relationship. This Article explores a different source of intellectual property protection for tattoos: the right of publicity. As tattooing has become increasingly prevalent among celebrities, tattoos have become “one” with the persona of the tattoo bearer. A tattoo that carries the meaning of a celebrity tattoo bearer serves as indicia of that celebrity’s identity. The Article proposes that when a tattoo becomes associated with the meaning of a celebrity’s identity, rather than solely retaining the message of the tattoo itself, the tattoo moves beyond mere protection under copyright law and acquires additional protections under the right-of-publicity laws. This transformation of intellectual property rights is the subject of the Article. Right-of-publicity laws exist in more than thirty of the states in the United States, in common law, by statute, or both. Therefore, assuming a state recognizes the right of publicity, and even if a celebrity (1) owns the identity at issue (validity) and (2) shows unauthorized third-party use of the identity in a way that is harmful to the commercial value of the identity (infringement), the claim may conflict with First Amendment interests. This Article also considers the various tests employed by courts to accommodate the conflicting interests of the First Amendment and the right of publicity. The Article endorses the Predominant Use test, which properly recognizes the prevalence of mixed commercial and expressive uses for tattoos.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 22, 2016 | Permalink

McGettigan on Lukianoff's "Unlearning Liberty"

Timothy McGettigan, Colorado State University, Pueblo, has published Survival of the Fittest Ideas: The Enduring Importance of Free Speech on Campus. Here is the abstract.

In Unlearning Liberty (2012 - Encounter Books), Greg Lukianoff has published a timely and provocative analysis of contemporary threats to freedom of speech at US colleges and universities. Lukianoff is a First Amendment attorney, and he is also the President of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE). Thus, Lukianoff makes it abundantly clear that there is hardly anyone who is better qualified to author this book.

Download the review from SSRN at the link.

September 22, 2016 | Permalink

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Jackson on Freedom of Speech Under Assault on Campus

Daniel Jackson, Department of Philosophy, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, has published Freedom of Speech Under Assault on Campus as Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 796. Here is the abstract.

Freedom of speech has been severely criticized at many American universities. Meanwhile, such prestigious transnational institutions as the United Nations and the European Union have endorsed censorship of hate speech, as well as denial of Holocaust and climate change, and even blasphemy. Those trends are antithetical to classically liberal ideals about both the freedom of speech and the purpose of the university. John Stuart Mill thought higher education should not tell us what it is our duty to believe, but should “help us to form our own belief in a manner worthy of intelligent beings.” He added that “there ought to exist the fullest liberty of professing and discussing, as a matter of ethical conviction, any doctrine,” regardless of its falsity, immorality, or even harmfulness. The classical liberal argument for free speech has historically been championed in two distinct ways. First, the Founding documents of the United States recognize freedom of speech as a natural right. Second, alternatively, that right might be grounded in utility, meaning its acceptance best promotes human flourishing. Ironically, the very trends on campus that threaten freedom of speech also lend strong support to both justifications for it.

Download the paper from SSRN at the link.

September 21, 2016 | Permalink

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Sag @matthewsag on Copyright's Digital/Analog Divide

Matthew Sag, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, has published Copyright's Digital/Analog Divide. Here is the abstract.

This Article shows how the substantive balance of copyright law has been overshadowed online by the system of intermediary safe harbors enacted as part of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”) in 1998. The Internet safe harbors and the system of notice-and-takedown fundamentally changed the incentives of platforms, users, and rightsholders in relation to claims of copyright infringement. These different incentives interact to yield a functional balance of copyright online that diverges markedly from the experience of copyright law in traditional media environments. This article also explores a second divergence: the DMCA’s safe harbor system is being superseded by private agreements between rightsholders and large commercial Internet platforms made in the shadow of those safe harbors. These agreements relate to automatic copyright filtering systems, such as YouTube’s Content ID, that not only return platforms to their gatekeeping role, but encode that role in algorithms and software. The normative implications of these developments are contestable. Fair use and other axioms of copyright law still nominally apply online; but in practice, the safe harbors and private agreements made in the shadow of those safe harbors are now far more important determinants of online behavior than whether that conduct is, or is not, substantively in compliance with copyright law. The diminished relevance of substantive copyright law to online expression has benefits and costs that appear fundamentally incommensurable. Compared to the offline world, online platforms are typically more permissive of infringement, and more open to new and unexpected speech and new forms of cultural participation. However, speech on these platforms is also more vulnerable to over-reaching claims by rightsholders. There is no easy metric for comparing the value of non-infringing expression enabled by the safe harbors to that which has been unjustifiably suppressed by misuse of the notice-and-takedown system. Likewise, the harm that copyright infringement does to rightsholders is not easy to calculate, nor is it easy to weigh against the many benefits of the safe harbors. DMCA-plus agreements raise additional considerations. Automatic copyright enforcement systems have obvious advantages for both platforms and rightsholders; they may also allow platforms to be more hospitable to certain types of user content. However, automated enforcement systems may also place an undue burden on fair use and other forms of non-infringing speech. The design of copyright enforcement robots encodes a series of policy choices made by platforms and rightsholders and, as a result, subjects online speech and cultural participation to a new layer of private ordering and private control. In the future, private interests, not public policy will determine the conditions under which users get to participate in online platforms that adopt these systems. In a world where communication and expression is policed by copyright robots, the substantive content of copyright law matters only to the extent that those with power decide that it should matter.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 20, 2016 | Permalink

Buccafusco @cjbuccafusco on a Theory of Copyright Law

Christopher Buccafusco, Cardozo School of Law, has published A Theory of Copyright Authorship at 102 Virginia Law Review 1229 (2016). Here is the abstract.

The U.S. Constitution gives Congress the power to grant rights to “Authors” for their “Writings.” Despite the centrality of these terms to copyright jurisprudence, neither the courts nor scholars have provided coherent theories about what makes a person an author or what makes a thing a writing. This article articulates and defends a theory of copyrightable authorship. It argues that authorship involves the intentional creation of mental effects in an audience. A writing, then, is any fixed medium capable of producing mental effects. According to this theory, copyright may attach to the original, fixed, and minimally creative form or manner in which an author creates mental effects. After setting out the theory, this article applies it to a series of current copyright disputes. My authorship theory both expands and contracts the scope of potentially copyrightable works. Some media that have previously been excluded from copyright law, such as gardens, cuisine, and tactile works, now fall within the constitutional grant of rights. By contrast, aspects of copyrightable works, including photographs, taxonomies, and computer programs, may not constitute copyrightable authorship. This theory resolves a number of current and recent copyright cases, and it offers a new approach to the emerging challenges associated with artificial intelligence, the Internet of things, and, ultimately, the impending revision of the Copyright Act.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 20, 2016 | Permalink

Wu on Collaborative Academic Library Digital Collections Post-Cambridge University Press, Hathitrust, and Google Decisions on Fair Use

Michelle M. Wu, Georgetown University Law Center, is publishing Collaborative Academic Library Digital Collections Post- Cambridge University Press, Hathitrust and Google Decisions on Fair Use in volume 1 of the Journal of Copyright in Education and Librarianship (2016). Here is the abstract.

Academic libraries face numerous stressors as they seek to meet the needs of their users through technological advances while adhering to copyright laws. This paper seeks to explore one specific proposal to balance these interests, the impact of recent decisions on its viability, and the copyright challenges that remain after these decisions.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 20, 2016 | Permalink

Monday, September 19, 2016

Bridy @AnnemarieBridy on the Evolution of Authorship: Work Made By Code

Annemarie Bridy, University of Idaho College of Law; Stanford University Center for Internet and Society, is publishing The Evolution of Authorship: Work Made by Code in volume 39 of the Columbia Journal of Law & the Arts (2016). Here is the abstract.

This short article — a transcript of remarks from the Kernochan Center’s fall 2015 symposium, “Copyright Outside the Box” — considers whether U.S. copyright law requires human authorship as a precondition for protection of an artistic work. Tracing the surprisingly long history of copyright law’s grappling with the status of computer-generated works, I ask whether the increasing sophistication and independence of generative code should cause us to rethink embedded assumptions in the law about the meaning and origin of creativity and authorship. Because copyright law already accommodates non-human authors (i.e., corporations) through the work made for hire doctrine, I argue here (revisiting my 2012 article Coding Creativity) that recognition of AI authorship may be a less profound doctrinal leap than it may seem. Other countries already protect works generated autonomously by computers. In the United States, we can decide for policy reasons that machine-authored works should not be protected by copyright, but that choice is not inevitable given the current state of the law both here and abroad.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

September 19, 2016 | Permalink

Rosen on Common Law Copyright

Zvi S. Rosen, George Washington School of Law, is publishing Common Law Copyright in the University of Cincinnati Law Review. Here is the abstract.

Sound recordings made before 1972 are governed by a confusing array of state-law protections, the most notable of these being common law copyright. Although frequently treated as a pre-publication version of statutory copyright, common law copyright has less in common with statutory copyright than is generally assumed, and these differences have real effects on copyright holders and broadcasters. This piece aims to take the measure of common-law copyright and demonstrate that it is a substantially broader doctrine than statutory copyright in terms of what rights it grants to creators. Particular attention is paid to the right of public performance at common-law, which does not obey statutory limitations but instead offers blanket protection to rights holders.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 19, 2016 | Permalink

Friday, September 16, 2016

Michael Geist On the CRTC and the CanCon Rules

Michael Geist, professor at the University of Ottawa School of Law and noted scholar in the area of IP and telecommunications law, discusses what's been going on with regard to rules concerning Canadian content in Canadian broadcasting rules. More here.

September 16, 2016 | Permalink

Corn-Revere on Hate-Speech Laws

Robert Corn-Revere, Davis, Wright, Tremaine, has published Hate Speech Laws: Ratifying the Assassin's Veto as Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 791. Here is the abstract.

Recently criticisms of religion have been met by violence and threats of violence, the most infamous being the murder in Paris of several editors of the satirical weekly, Charlie Hebdo. The phenomenon of killing or threatening to kill those who insult you or your way of life has come to be known as the assassin’s veto. These events raise anew a basic question for liberal societies: how much expression must a free society tolerate? The United States Supreme Court has generally restricted government limits on speech. Some speech, however, does not receive protection, including expressions closely tied to violence. In the past, “fighting words” were judged unprotected by the First Amendment; the development of Court doctrine has largely eliminated this exception. American jurisprudence is based on the assumption that protections for freedom of expression will not long endure if they can be abandoned when the message is particularly repellent or its target especially sympathetic. European law also protects freedom of expression, although in a less robust way than does U.S. law. Article 10 of the European Convention on Human Rights subjects freedom of speech to important limitations understood generally as “hate speech.” In contrast to the United States, officials may apply criminal or civil sanctions to prohibited political advocacy. The United States faces a choice. Should it defend the right to offend, or opt instead to champion a right not to be offended? We have learned from hard experience in the United States that free expression cannot long survive without protecting outrageous and offensive speech.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 16, 2016 | Permalink

Monday, September 12, 2016

Chong on Asian Pacific American Employment and Color-Blind Casting in the Entertainment Industry

Christina Shu Jien Chong, University of San Francisco School of Law, has published Where are the Asians in Hollywood? Can §1981, Title VII, Colorblind Pitches, and Understanding Biases Break the Bamboo Ceiling? at 21 Asian Pacific American Law Journal 29 (2016). Here is the abstract.

Despite America's recent diversity craze, the bamboo ceiling appears stronger than ever in Hollywood. The entertainment industry's lack of racial diversity is disappointing, but the legal system's failure to protect minorities from Hollywood's discriminatory hiring practices is even more depressing. In October 2012, Claybrooks v. ABC held casting based on race was an expression protected by the First Amendment even though an overwhelming number of Whites already dominated the film industry. This article's research study recorded the race of 2,394 actors and actresses and 1,688 directors, casting directors, and screenwriters in 500 films over a span of five years (2010 to 2014), but focused on the absence of Asian Pacific Americans from Hollywood's entourage. The data revealed that Whites hold 84% of on-screen acting roles and 94% of behind-the-cameras positions. Asian Pacific Americans only held 3% of on-screen acting roles and 0.8% of behind-the-cameras positions. Where are the Asians in Hollywood? argues that the dramatic under-representation of Asian Pacific Americans in Hollywood is caused by racially discriminatory practices that are fueled by implicit and explicit biases. Previous articles discuss the model minority myth in other industries, such as academia, and examined discrimination in Hollywood against other racial groups, such as African Americans. However, existing literature fails to analyze the current status of Asian Pacific Americans in popular films and how implicit and explicit biases among entertainment and government leaders perpetuate the cycle of racial discrimination. This article explores how Hollywood's insular culture ignores diversity by heavily hiring Whites for the acting roles and influential positions behind the camera. If an Asian Pacific American is chosen for an on-screen role, the actor or actress is often typecast as a stereotypical supporting character, such as the model minority or foreigner. Hollywood's biases exclude many Asian Pacific Americans from the casting process and limits employment opportunities to roles that misrepresent Asian culture. A logical course of action would be to sue Hollywood's leaders for racial discrimination. Unfortunately, the laws created to protect minorities, such as Title VII and Section 1981 of the Civil Rights Acts of 1964 and 1866, have historically failed to aid Asian Pacific Americans in breaking the bamboo ceiling. This article describes the existing legal options for plaintiffs and exposes how the implicit and explicit biases of America's leaders add another barrier to recovery. For example, race is not a bona fide occupational qualification, but courts allow casting based on race, and legislators believe discrimination based on appearance is acceptable because race and appearance are different. To make matters worse, Hollywood's misrepresentation of Asian Pacific Americans in stereotypical roles intensifies the implicit biases among society's members. Films portray Asian Pacific Americans as the model minority that achieved the American Dream. However, out of 488 casting calls in 2015, 65% requested a White actor or actress while only 4% requested an Asian Pacific American. Society fails to realize that Asian Pacific Americans struggle to succeed in Hollywood due to employment discrimination and incorrectly exclude Asian Pacific Americans from diversity initiatives. This article discusses an array of industry solutions, such as diversity and debiasing programs, colorblind pitches and casting, more Asians in the arts, self regulation, and organizing with other minorities. But the article ultimately determines the best solution to Hollywood's diversity problem is legislative action.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 12, 2016 | Permalink

Pila on Copyright and Related Rights: Outlining a Case for a European Morality/Public Policy Exclusion

Justine Pila, Oxford University Faculty of Law, is publishing Copyright and Related Rights: Outlining a Case for a European Morality/Public Policy Exclusion in Copyright Law: A Handbook of Contemporary Research (Edward Elgar, 2016). Here is the abstract.

In contrast to the position under European patent and trade mark laws, European copyright and related rights legislation does not currently provide for the exclusion from protection of subject matter that is contrary to morality or public policy. Given the general antipathy that exists to Court of Justice decision-making in the intellectual property field, the criticism generated by the Court’s 2011 decision that human dignity precludes the patenting of any product the preparation of which involves the destruction of a post-fertilization human embryo, and the seeming absurdity of recent suggestions by French public authorities that morality and public policy (ordre public) require burkini-clad beachgoers to undress, the immediate reaction to this position might be relief at being saved the spectacle of the EU exploiting any further opportunity to define the requirements of morality and public policy for its 28 Member States, particularly in a field as important to the creative industries as copyright and related rights. Nonetheless, and as unpopular as existing European social norms and jurisprudence in this area might be, there is a strong case to be made for the introduction of a European morality/public policy exclusion from copyright and related rights. The purpose of this Chapter is to outline that case.

Download the essay from SSRN at the link.

September 12, 2016 | Permalink

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Dunbar, Kubrin, and Scurich on the Threatening Nature of "Rap" Music

Adam Dunbar, Charis E. Kubrin, and Nicholas Scurich, all of the University of California, Irvine, has published The Threatening Nature of 'Rap' Music, at 22 Psychology, Public Policy and Law 280 (2016). Here is the abstract.

Rap music has had a contentious relationship with the legal system, including censorship, regulation, and artists being arrested for lewd and profane performances. More recently, rap lyrics have been introduced by prosecutors to establish guilt in criminal trials. Some fear this form of artistic expression will be inappropriately interpreted as literal and threatening, perhaps because of stereotypes. Only a handful of studies have examined whether rap lyrics are evaluated using stereotypes, yet these studies were conducted in the 1990s — a period of heightened scrutiny for rap — and used nonoptimal methods. This study presents 3 experiments that examine the impact of genre-specific stereotypes on the evaluation of violent song lyrics by manipulating the musical genre (rap vs. country) while holding constant the actual lyrics. Study 1, a direct replication of previous research, found that participants deemed identical lyrics more literal, offensive, and in greater need of regulation when they were characterized as rap compared with country. Study 2 was a conceptual replication (i.e., same design but different stimuli), and again detected this effect. Study 3 used the same approach but experimentally manipulated the race of the author of the lyrics. A main effect was detected for the genre, with rap evaluated more negatively than country or a control condition with no label. However, no effects were found for the race of the lyrics’ author nor were interactions were detected. Collectively, these findings highlight the possibility that rap lyrics could inappropriately impact jurors when admitted as evidence to prove guilt.

The full text of the article is not available from SSRN.

September 7, 2016 | Permalink

Goldberg @rafigoldberg, McHenry, Zambrano Ramos, and Chen on Trust In Internet Privacy and Security and Online Activity

Rafi M. Goldberg, Giulia McHenry, NTIA, Luis E. Zambrano Ramos, all of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA), and Celeste Chen, Georgetown University, McCourt School of Public Policy (Students), have published Trust in Internet Privacy and Security and Online Activity. Here is the abstract.

Every day, billions of people around the world use the Internet to share ideas, conduct financial transactions, and keep in touch with family, friends, and colleagues. Users trust the Internet to send and store personal medical data, financial information, business communications, and even intimate conversations over this global network. Trust in the privacy and security of the Internet is enormously important to its success as a source of economic activity and an unparalleled tool for free expression. At the same time, recent data breaches, cybersecurity incidents, and controversies over the privacy of online services are heightening Americans’ awareness of online threats. We hypothesize that lower levels of trust in the privacy and security of the Internet, taken together with a range of other factors, are associated with reductions in online activity. Using data from the July 2015 Computer and Internet Use Supplement to the Current Population Survey, we aim to shed light on the relationship between online privacy and security concerns and a range of important Internet-based economic and civic activities. Questions in this survey included whether online households had experienced an online security breach during the year preceding the survey; whether they experienced online harassment; what concerned them the most when it comes to online privacy and security risks; and whether concerns about privacy or security stopped them from conducting financial transactions, buying goods or services, posting on social networks, or expressing a controversial opinion online. In this study, we employ quantitative analysis to assess a link between indicators of mistrust in privacy and security online — including both perceptions and reported negative experiences — and reductions in selected online activities. We find that Internet-using households that expressed various privacy or security concerns or experienced an online breach or harassment were significantly more likely than their peers to report that such concerns led them to refrain from a range of online activities. After controlling for other factors, households citing identity theft as a major concern were 16 percentage points more likely to have declined to conduct a financial transaction online, while those concerned about data collection or tracking by government were 10 percentage points more likely to say they did not express a controversial or political opinion over the Internet. Furthermore, households that had experienced a data or security breach during the past year were 11 percentage points more likely to refrain from a financial transaction, and those experiencing online harassment were 14 percentage points more likely not to express a controversial view due to privacy or security concerns. It is clear that policymakers must better understand the prevalence of mistrust in the privacy and security of the Internet, as well as any resulting chilling effects. In addition to greatly concerning many Americans, privacy and security issues may lead to reductions in economic activity and the free exchange of ideas online. We hope our analysis will spark discussion of solutions — such as promoting strong encryption, transparency in privacy policies, and other best practices—that could help build trust in the Internet and stimulate the free flow of information and commerce.

Download the article from SSRN at the link.

September 7, 2016 | Permalink

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Venezuelan Newspaper Offices Suffer Attacks From Unknown Persons

From the Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ): a report that vandals have attacked the offices of two Venezuelan newspapers, El Nacional and Diario de los Andes, over the past week. Another newspaper's office was attacked in June. The CPJ has called on the Venezuelan authorities to investigate these assaults  on press freedom immediately.  More here from the Inter-American Press Association.

September 1, 2016 | Permalink