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Governance of Online Intermediaries: Observations from a Series of National Case Studies

Author: Gasser, U. & Schulz, W.
Published in:
Year: 2015
Type: Working paper

This synthesis paper is part of a globally coordinated, independent academic research project by the Global Network of Interdisciplinary Internet & Society Research Centers (NoC). Facilitated by the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, the project is the first output of a larger policy-oriented research initiative that examines the rapidly changing landscape of online intermediary governance at the intersection of law, technology, norms, and markets. In concert with other research projects, it seeks to develop criteria, comparative methods, and a shared data repository, and to compile insights and lessons learned across diverse communities of knowledge aimed at informing and improving Internet policy-making globally. The initial research output consists of a case study series exploring online intermediary liability frameworks and issues in Brazil, the European Union, India, South Korea, the United States, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam, and a synthesis paper that seeks to distill key observations and provide a high-level analysis of some of the structural elements that characterize varying governance frameworks, with a focus on intermediary liability regimes and their evolution. The authors of this synthesis paper have participated in a multi-step process of in-person consultations and remote collaborations among a global team of researchers from the Network of Centers. Additionally, the paper is based on a set of broader questions regarding the role of online intermediaries in the digital age. The research effort is grounded in a diversity of global perspectives and collaborative research techniques, committed to objective and independent academic standards, and aspires to be useful, actionable, and timely for policymakers and stakeholders. More broadly, the Network of Centers seeks to contribute to a more generalized vision and longer-term strategy regarding the role of academic research, facilitation and convening, and education and communication in the Internet age. For additional information on the initiative, please contact Urs Gasser, Berkman Center for Internet & Society, at ugasser@cyber.law.harvard.edu

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