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Liability of Online Intermediaries – New Study by the Global Network of Internet and Society Centers

“The Global Network of Internet and Society Research Centers (NoC) and the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University are pleased to announce the release of a new report, which examines the rapidly changing landscape of online intermediary liability at the intersection of law, technology, norms, and markets, and is aimed at informing and improving Internet policy-making globally. This report is a first output of a larger initiative on the governance of online intermediaries and 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. In addition to facilitating the research project, the Berkman Center led the drafting of the synthesis document and contributed a case study on intermediary liability in the United States. The synthesis paper 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. While intermediary liability varies significantly across the country case studies, the synthesis highlights the importance of cultural and political context, as reflected in both the legal norms aimed at regulating intermediaries and the perception of intermediaries’ social function within the countries studied. The United States paper describes and assesses the intermediary liability landscape in the United States, providing an overview of major US legal regimes that protect online intermediaries from liability for user content. It then offers a series of short case studies describing ways in which US-based companies and other organizations have structured their operations in compliance with and in response to US law. 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. The full text of the Berkman Center contribution, the other case studies by our international partners, and the synthesis paper are available on the Publixphere website, where the authors welcome comments and feedback.  The series and individual papers are also available for download from SSRN.”

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