The Age of Dispossession: How EU Law Deals With the Seamless Entrusting to Third Parties of Content and Data in the Digital Age
42 Pages Posted: 29 May 2019
Date Written: December 31, 2018
The obervation of individuals' interaction with the digital shows that they are dispossessed from certain prerogatives which define us as humans. The first part of the paper selectively discusses the phenomenology of four forms of dispossession: dispossession from attention, free choice, identity and copyrighted content ownership. The second part looks at whether EU law provides tools to respond to the dispossession issue. If the law is in fact to be seen as a means to preserve an individual's sovereignty over his/her sphere of autonomy, then the legal framework can be tested to verify whether it provides instruments for individuals to repossess what they lose when using digital technologies. In this vein, I consider at a high level of abstraction the repossession affordances that may be found in four areas of EU law and namely data protection, competition law, consumers law and in the EU's proposal for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market. I conclude that it is uncertain whether any legal response to dispossession may actually be effective, to the extent that the law is confronted with something new, at least of comparable virulence, that is the inherent normative value of the digital, that shapes (rather than being shaped by) social norms and the related legal framework.
Keywords: dispossession, free choice, identity, coyrighted content, EU, data protection, competition law, consumer law, copyright in the digital single market
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