A Framework for Information Law and Policy
77 Pages Posted: 20 Jan 2004
The information age calls for new legal and policy approaches to the ways in which we deal with information. Previous moves in this area have tended to center around developing a 'cyberlaw' or 'Internet law'. This has involved largely piecemeal attempts to gather together miscellaneous legal issues that happen to relate to digital communications technologies. No clear discernible normative framework has yet emerged.
Rather than focusing on these new technologies, any new legal and policy framework for the information age should be organized around the idea of 'information' per se, with its focus on society's interactions with various kinds of information. Such a development would require the identification and development of normative principles that will shape the development of relevant laws and policies.
This article suggests that an appropriate set of normative principles might be derived from identifying a set of 'control' and 'access' rights in relation to information. These rights could be utilized as 'organizing tools' for the development of a legal and policy framework that would help inform the development of a harmonized and cohesive set of 'information law and policy principles' for the global information age. The following discussion demonstrates how this might be achieved in theory and practice, and presents case studies to illustrate how such a law and policy framework might prove useful in informing future debate in the 'information law' area.
Keywords: Cyberlaw, information, property, intellectual property, copyright, database
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