Multilevel Governance of the Digital Space: Does a 'Second Rank' Institutional Framework Exist?
INTERNET AND DIGITAL ECONOMICS, Eric Brousseau and Nicolas Curien, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2006
26 Pages Posted: 31 Jul 2006
Digital Technologies make it possible to decentrally settle institutional frameworks based on self-implementation of exclusive rights of use over information and on the self-regulation of on-line communities. Through a decentralized system of IPRs and collective rules setting of this kind agents would benefit from coordination frames well adapted to their specific needs and preferences. However, such a process can also result in inefficiencies. While becoming subject to exclusion, information and coordination spaces remain non-divisible goods. Moreover, individual and group interests could succeed in taking non-contestable control over "privatized" information spaces. To overcome these weaknesses and threats, an institution of last resort - placed above the agents and the self-regulated communities - should be created and make enforceable constitutional principles with the purpose of guaranteeing some fundamental rights of contents to producers and users. Based on the principle of subsidiarity, it should supervise the behavior of individuals and communities to prevent capture of public wealth by individual interests, to solve conflicts among claims and local regulations, to guarantee enforcement when exclusive rights of use are legitimate. The way to implement it is uncertain, however, since neither a central authority of last resort nor a global community exists to implement it. A combination of open, centralized negotiations among public and private norm setters with a conflict settlement mechanism aimed at harmonizing the proliferating orders could nevertheless lead to the progressive definition of such constitutional basic rights and principles.
Keywords: Multilevel Governance, Regulation, Internet Economics, Antitrust, Property Rights
JEL Classification: H7, K2, L4, L5, L 86, L96, O34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation