This being part of the Carnival of Journalism (and late), ringmaster Doug Fisher asks: what changes will need to be made in national and international legal systems to help the digital age, and especially journalism in the digital age, flourish?
At the risk of making myself unpopular, in our own digital realm — journalism — many of the opportunities offered by digital content have been held back by cross media ownership restrictions. When it comes to the media even a mogul like Rupert Murdoch had to switch nationality to own TV stations in the US.
The real legal barrier to the digital age is international governance itself. There is no international legislature established under the representative terms that we understand to confer legitimacy.
The digital age may offer the virtual promise of making me a citizen of the world, but a Bahraini blogger and businessman struggles to get a visa to travel to Europe.
And without authority, the principal problem of regulation is — invariably — enforcement. Creative Commons may sound cheery, but try engaging in legal action to protect your rights. That’s costly and difficult. The US First Amendment may offer a constitutional guarantee for freedom of speech, but its writ doesn’t run here in the UK.
The reality of financing legal action means that the law is available only to the rich. The reality of enforcing legal action in some jurisdictions means that the law is a paper tiger.