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Regulatory capitalism, decentred enforcement and its legal consequences for digital expression : the use of copyright law to restrict freedom of speech online

Farrand, Benjamin (2013) Regulatory capitalism, decentred enforcement and its legal consequences for digital expression : the use of copyright law to restrict freedom of speech online. Journal of Information Technology and Politics, 10 (4). pp. 404-422. ISSN 1933-1681

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Abstract

Copyright as currently understood is justified by the belief that the protection it grants to creators incentivises the continued creation of works deemed culturally beneficial to society. However, its use can be less altruistic, as a means of suppressing embarrassing or controversial information. The ability to disseminate sensitive material quickly through the Internet concerns both State and non-State actors, and there are indications that through the use of private intermediaries, copyright can be used to suppress speech. This article shall seek to explain how the current neoliberal system of governance blurs the line between public and private actors, creating a diffused and decentralised system of copyright enforcement that allows for the suppression of speech in a way that avoids discussion of censorship.