Regulation of the market in digital information
This Thesis examines the current public policy and regulatory options likely to influence the future development of the information market. The context is the successful delivery, by digital technology, of the Internet - the precursor to a future broadband network, more popularly known as the `information superhighway'. This advance, which feeds on convergence of the information and communication technologies, will enable text, sound and image to be manipulated, exploited and communicated in digital format across a number of delivery platforms. It has introduced a new phase of intensive policy analysis among administrations intended to lead to the development of national or regional information infrastructure plans, designed ultimately to produce a global framework. A central focus of policy examined by the Thesis is what form the regulatory environment should take to encourage synergy between the public and private sectors in respect of their contributions to the plan. Throughout the work the approaches of the United Kingdom, the European Union and the United States are compared. The core of the Thesis is four papers, located in Chapters 1-4, which have either been published or accepted for publication in 1995/96. The first three will appear in the International Journal of Law and Information Technology (Oxford University Press) and the fourth in the 1995 International Yearbook of Law, Computers & Technology (Carfax). Chapter 1, `A Jurisprudence for Information Technology Law' considers the legal response to `digitization' and what the future holds. Chapter 2, `Public Sector Policy and the Information Superhighway' develops one of the themes from Chapter 1 and considers the public policy dilemmas posed by the information superhighway. Chapter 3, `Public Information Access Policy in the Digital Network Environment assesses the arguments for reform of EU access policy, its implications for the UK and the contribution it will make to the information market. Chapter 4, `A UK National Information Policy for the Electronic Age' reviews the progress of the UK in developing an integrated information policy for the information society. Chapter 5 contains a Conclusion. The author believes the Thesis to be the first sustained public policy analysis of the subject since the digital network first began to enter the public domain in 1993.