I’m delighted to share news of a two-day workshop on “Designing Smart Cities – opportunities and regulatory challenges” at the University of Strathclyde (Glasgow) later this year (31st March/1st April).
The event takes place at Strathclyde’s spectacular new Technology and Innovation Centre (TIC). I’ve been watching this building rise over the last few years (I regularly attend an exam board across the road from it), and I’m sure I won’t be the only one looking forward to seeing what they have done with the place.
There are some excellent speakers lined up. (And when they’re all done, I’ll speak too). Smart cities is a topic that attracts a lot of interest and equal amounts of enthusiasm and cynicism (see for instance this recent Guardian series). Unsurprisingly, the speakers and topics are drawn from a very wide range of disciplines. Here’s a list of the things you are likely to hear about:
- What are Smart Cities? Local and international perspectives.
- Comparative International Perspectives: considering differences between developing & developed nation projects
- Policing and privacy in smart cities: looking at ambient public space monitoring, public engagement & algorithmic surveillance
- Ubiquitous computing, connected data and privacy in the home
- Future Energy Management and Sustainability: considering implications of smart grids & metering e.g. climate change, privacy
- Intelligent Built Environments & Urban Living: the role of big data in planning & design; growth of adaptive architecture e.g. buildings changing due to biometric inputs
- Smart transport Infrastructure: aspects of intelligent roads and autonomous cars
- Creative Smart Cities: issues such as ambient public art
- Play through sports e.g. marathons; large scale events like Glasgow Commonwealth Games 2014
I’m particularly excited at the opportunity to hear a number of excellent speakers in person for the first time, including David Murakami Wood (Canadian-based expert on surveillance – and Newcastle graduate!), and Maynooth’s Rob Kitchin (a leading Irish geographer who ran the National Institute of Regional and Spatial Analysis and is working more and more on questions of data). The event is put together by Strathclyde’s professor of Internet law, Lilian Edwards.
Registration is currently free. Many of the events I’ve seen advertised on this topic are clearly targeted at those with very deep pockets; like so many emerging areas, it can seem that the expertise is only available at a high price. Sponsorship of this event allows for free registration, subject to availability. You can register at this link. Places are limited.
Two pieces of mine have recently appeared in online law journals. They are available without charge or login from the journals concerned; both journals are open access journals. You can also download the articles from SSRN.
The first article emerges out of the CREATe project on games, transmedia and the law. Along with my UEA friends Dr. Keith M. Johnston and Dr. Tom Phillips, I have been thinking about legal and business issues in and around the games industry, with a particular interest in new and emerging business models. This particular piece, “Multiplayer Games: Tax, Copyright, Consumers and the Video Game Industries” (European Journal of Law and Technology | SSRN) is a discussion of the impact of legal measures in each of the three cited fields.
The successes of the games industry requires an analysis of the way in which the state is influencing, or attempting to influence, the development of the sector. Drawing from a research project on games, transmedia and the law, including a roundtable with developers and others from the industry, a critical perspective is provided on the impact of three types of law (tax, consumer and intellectual property) on the UK industry. The negotiation and eventual approval of a tax credit for video game development expenditure is reviewed. This is an example of the games industry lobbying for and welcoming the creation of a specific (but film-influenced) legal status for the “video game” – but the passage of the scheme raises troubling questions about the cultural status of games. A significant commercial issue, that of consumer protection, is then discussed. Consumer legislation may prove to constrain certain developments in relation to games; it is argued that there is a special impact on new platforms, because of the (deserved) official attention now being paid to in-app purchases. In relation to intellectual property, the alignment (or misalignment) of copyright law with concepts of value in the sector is considered, with particular reference to “cloning”. In conclusion, the particular impact of the three fields on new platforms, and the different degrees to which legislation is contributing to the development of the games sector, is considered. It is argued that the emerging business model of F2P non-console games is not handled as well as it should be, particularly as compared with other business models in the sector.
The second, shorter piece is an update for the law and technology journal SCRIPTed on recent developments in online gambling law. I discuss two particular developments: a significant retreat from the ‘deregulatory’ Gambling Act in Great Britain (amended to provide for greater control over foreign providers advertising or doing business in the UK), and a further step in the EU’s attempt to get to grips with the field – a Recommendation from the European Commission. The piece is “When The Dealin’s Done? Recent Developments in Online Gambling Law and Policy” (SCRIPTed | SSRN) and, to my great delight, was submitted on Kenny Rogers’ 68th birthday.
(1) Supported by CREATe, here’s a fascinating workshop on artificial intelligence and the law, organised by my Edinburgh colleague Prof. Burkhard Schafer:
Ever since Larry Lessig’s proposal to understand “Digital Rights Management” as a form of regulation through code, the field of copyright in the digital economy has opened up a new field of research questions for Artificial Intelligence and Law. How can we represent in more intelligent and semantically richer ways legal concepts that ensure that all, and only, lawful use can be made of digital objects such as film clips or music tunes? How can Information Retrieval support e-discovery in IP litigation? How can we support through technology creators and digital businesses to manage their IP rights, or to use third party material in a law-compliant way? These are just a few of the questions that offer new and exciting applications for artificial intelligence in a legal context.
The call for papers closes this week, so do get in touch; the workshop itself is in December. All of the details are available here.
(2) My former colleagues at the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy have a good opportunity for someone about to complete a PhD or with one recently in the bag – a one-year postdoctoral fellowship at a leading interdisciplinary centre (law, economics, business, political science) for academic research on competition and regulation. Even for someone who only scraped the surface of CCP issues during my time there, it was a very vibrant, provocative group to work with – and if your interests are within the Centre’s research programme, it would be a pretty great chance to immerse yourself in relevant academic activity:
The Centre is a focus of research into Competition and Regulation across a range of disciplines, and welcomes applications in the area of competition or regulation policy from candidates with a strong background in competition law, industrial economics, or Political Science related to competition policy or regulation. Post doctoral fellows are expected to contribute to the Centre’s research individually and to develop joint research with other Centre members.
All information and online application available here. Project 2 is led by me (and includes Dr. Keith M. Johnston, University of East Anglia), and I welcome informal queries at firstname.lastname@example.org . For the other projects, contact Smita Kheria (1) and Burkhard Schafer (3). Now, the job ad:
The University of Edinburgh is a partner in the consortium of universities running CREATe and we are seeking three fixed-term, part-time research assistants to contribute to a CREATe Project. All applicants for these posts will be based in the Edinburgh Law School. Salary: £25,251 – £29,249 (pro rata); see below for the duration and weekly commitment of each post.
Project 1 – Applications are invited for a part-time Research Assistant to contribute to a two year project on copyright and individual creators. The successful applicant will have a Masters degree in Law or Socio-legal studies or a relevant social science discipline (e.g. sociology or science and technology studies), ideally will be completing a PhD or have a PhD, and have expertise in socio-legal empirical research and/or qualitative and quantitative methods and research design. This part-time post (1 day per week) is available on a fixed term basis for two years from January 2013.
Project 2 – Applications are invited for a part-time Research Assistant to contribute to a one-year project on video games and transmedia. The successful applicant will have a Masters degree in Law (or a relevant other discipline, with the applicant having some understanding of law/regulation), ideally will be completing a PhD or have a PhD, and have strong knowledge (through study, professional experience, creative practice or personal interest) of the relevant industries, particularly games. This part-time post (1 day per week) is available on a fixed term basis for one year from January 2013.
Project 3 – Applications are invited for a part-time Research Assistant to contribute to a two-year project on the future of DRM. The successful applicant will have a Masters degree either in Law or Informatics (or a relevant other discipline, with the applicant having some understanding of law/regulation), ideally s/he will be completing a PhD or have a PhD, and have strong knowledge of the regulatory issues of software technologies.
I am one of the researchers in the Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise and Technology (CREATe), funded by the AHRC, ESRC and EPSRC for the next four years. It’s led by the University of Glasgow and both my former institution (UEA) and current (Edinburgh) are participating institutions.
As such, I’m very pleased to say that, for a project being run by myself and my former UEA colleague Dr. Emily Laidlaw, we are now looking for someone to work with us, a day a week for two years (to be appointed by UEA):
We are seeking a part time Senior Research Associate to contribute to a two phase CREATe project on human rights and the public interest in the context of copyright and the digital economy, in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh.
You will have a Masters degree in Law or a related field and have expertise in human rights, copyright and/or information technology law and be able to fulfil the essential criteria in the person specification. This is a part time post for 1 day per week (20%) on a fixed term basis for two years.
And what’s it about?
We are seeking a Senior Research Associate to contribute to a CREATe project on human rights and the public interest in the context of copyright and the digital economy. This is a two phase project. The first phase consists of a comparative literature review to analyse the relationship between freedom of expression and copyright. The second phase seeks to identify trends in human rights engagement (past, present and future) and to identify the impact differing business models have on human rights. The goal from this investigation is to identify the key human rights issues raised by current and emerging business frameworks in the creative industry and provide guidance on how freedom of expression can facilitate new business models.
Closing date 12th October. All the details are here.