BILETA 2003: Controlling Information in the Online Environment, London, England, 14-15 April 2003
ICCL, CCLS, Queen Mary, University of London
and member of BILETA Executive Committee
This is a conference report published on 15 December 2003
Citation: Sutter, 'BILETA 2003: Controlling Information in the Online Environment, London, England, 14-15 April 2003', 2003 (2) The Journal of Information, Law and Technology (JILT). <http://elj.warwick.ac.uk/jilt/03-2/sutter.html>. New citation as at 1/1/04: <http://www2.warwick.ac.uk/fac/soc/law/elj/jilt/2003_2/sutter/>.
The 18th Annual BILETA Conference was held on 14th and 15th April, 2003. Hosted by the Institute of Computer & Communications Law of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (a department within the School of Law at Queen Mary, University of London), the conference was held in the picturesque surroundings of the Maritime Greenwich campus, now part of the University of Greenwich.
2. Conference Themes & Topics Discussed
This year's conference theme, "Controlling information in the online environment", reflected the continued dominance of the IT law sector by internet-based regulation issues. Including the two keynote presentations, around fifty papers were presented by academics from many diverse locations. Continuing the trend towards increasing internationalisation which successive BILETA conferences have seen in recent years, papers this year came from all over the UK, mainland Europe, Malaysia, New Zealand, South America and the USA. Indeed, around 50% of papers submitted to the programme committee were from without the UK and Ireland.
As per usual, the vast majority of these papers were given in streamed sessions, with topics including ICT & Legal practice, E-Commerce, Access to Legal Information Online, Internet Governance, ICT & Legal Education, Intellectual Property, Internet Content Regulation, and Privacy. Special mention should go to the session on Online Provision of Legal Materials, which incorporated a panel discussion. The panel was comprised of representatives of several different interest groups, including those involved in the creation of online legal information resources, law librarians, and academics. Although audience turnout for this session was disappointing, it was agreed by those who did attend that it was an exercise worth repeating in future when hopefully more would be motivated to attend.
3. Keynote Speeches
This year there were two keynote presentations, each of which reflected the main conference theme of controlling information in the online environment. The first was given by Chris Reed, Director of the Centre for Commercial Law Studies and the world's first Professor of Electronic Commerce. Professor Reed's presentation considered the challenges raised by internet technology to the enforcement of established legal principles which regulate content such as obscenity, sale of medical drugs, and so on. He opened by outlining the problems facing attempts to apply national content regulation to an inescapably global medium. Having considered several different ways in which these issues might be addressed, Professor Reed's novel conclusion was that perhaps the best way forward is for states to adopt a policy of non-regulation over material (with the likely exception of culturally sensitive matter, such as pornography or Nazi-themed websites) originating from without its jurisdictional boundaries. This would, of course, in Reed's vision be supported by international consensus on certain regulatory standards whether in the form of treaties, bilateral / unilateral agreements, or more regimented procedures such as EU legislation.
The second keynote speaker, Mr. Christopher S. Gibson, is a partner in the London office of law firm Steptoe & Johnson. Mr. Gibson joined Steptoe & Johnson in early 2001 from WIPO's headquarters in Geneva, where he was Head of the electronic Commerce Law Section. There he covered the legal issues generated by electronic commerce, including copyright, trade mark, domain name registration and enforcement issues, and he was a principal officer involved in WIPO's domain name work, including the dispute resolution procedures which ICANN adopted as the Uniform Domain-Name Dispute-Resolution Procedure (UDRP). Mr Gibson's keynote presentation was concerned with dispute resolution procedures in the online context. Opening with an outline of the theory behind dispute resolution and recent trends in ecommerce dispute resolution, Mr Gibson proceeded to discuss the area with specific reference to control of intellectual property online. Particular consideration was given to the process already in place with respect to domain name disputes, which Mr. Gibson proposed offers a model for the future development of online dispute resolution more broadly.
Due largely to what might have been considered an unfortunate international situation, numbers may have been down this year (total number of participants reached the mid 70s at the event), however, the general consensus was that this in no way harmed the quality of debate and discussion at BILETA 2003. Next year's conference, which will take place in Durham, is now eagerly anticipated by BILETA regulars and this year's newcomers alike.
A vote of thanks is due to all those who ensured that the event ran smoothly. The contribution of the venue management and staff, who were always to hand, helpful and provided excellent catering (particularly for the conference dinner) and facilities should not go unremarked. Thanks must also go to all those who assisted in the planning stages, chaired sessions, presented papers and keynote speeches, and otherwise contributed to the debate. Lastly, and by no means leastly, thanks are due to Mrs. Lorraine Mulpeter, who handled all conference administration before and during the conference, and without whom the whole event would undoubtedly not have been the success that it was.
5. Conference Papers
Ruth Atkins, Capturing the IT Customer’s Requirements: A Shared Responsibility
Ida Madieha Azmi, Content Regulation in Malaysia Unleashing Missiles on Dangerous Web Sites
Camilla Baasch Andersen, The Internet: Tool of Law, Source of Law or Tool for Sources – Use of the Internet in Legal Practice using Examples from International Sales
Subhajit Basu, Implementing E-commerce Tax Policy
Tânia C. D. Bueno, Érica B.Q. Ribeiro, Hugo C. Hoeschl and Samantha Hoffmann, E-Courts in Brazil Conceptual Model for Entirely Electronic Court Process
Alan Cunningham, The Management of Rights in the Digital Environment: Lessons from Legal A.I.
Ronan Deazley, Articles, the Academy and Authorising Reproductions
Brian Esler, Judas or Messiah? The Implications of the Mod Chip Cases for Copyright in an Electronic Age
Apostolos Gkoutzinis, Online Financial Services in the European Internal Market and the Implementation of the E-Commerce Directive in the UK
Carolina Gonzalez-Honorato, The Information Society Services and Electronic Commerce Spanish Act
Andrés Guadamuz González, PayPal and eBay: The legal implications of the C2C electronic
Safinaz Mohd. Hussein, Service Provider Licensing System in the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Industry
Nick Jackson, E-learning Material and Open Access
Bostjan Makarovic, Drafting E-legislation: Amendments to Existing Legislative Instruments or a New Information Society Act
Philip Leith and Karen McCullagh, Developing European Legal Information Markets Based on Government Information: First Findings from The Add-Wijzer Project.
María Verónica PEREZ ASINARI, The WTO and the Protection of Personal Data. Do EU Measures Fall within GATS Exception? Which Future for Data Protection within the WTO e-commerce Context?
Robert Plotkin, From Idea to Action: Toward a Unified Theory of Software and the Law
Erica B. Q. Ribeiro, Hugo C. Hoeschl, Tania C. D. Bueno and Samantha Hoffmann, A Brazilian Experience on Technological Distance Learning for Law Students and Professionals
Fredrik Roos, Controlling National Top-level Domains - The Question of Legitimacy
Diane Rowland, Privacy, freedom of expression and CyberSLAPPs: Fostering anonymity on the Internet?
Diane Rowland, Privacy, data retention and terrorism
Amanda Russell and Margaret Smillie, Freedom of Expression - The Multiple Publication Rule
Susan Schiavetta and Konstantinos Komaitis, ICANN's Role in Controlling Information on the Internet
Scott A. Taylor, American Tax Systems as Examples of Successful e-Government <http://www.bileta.ac.uk/03papers/taylor.html>.