Empirical approaches to intermediary liability

Erickson, K. and Kretschmer, M. (2020) Empirical approaches to intermediary liability. In: Frosio, G. (ed.) The Oxford Handbook of Intermediary Liability Online. Oxford University Press. (doi:10.1093/oxfordhb/9780198837138.013.5)

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This chapter considers what empirical evidence may contribute to the debates around online intermediary liability. What do we need to know in order to frame the liability of intermediaries and, a fortiori, what does the relationship between theory and empirics imply for the wider issue of platform regulation? This chapter evaluates the performance of so-called intermediary liability safe harbours, which have been operating for almost two decades in multiple jurisdictions. The chapter also tackles the problem of transparency of algorithmic decision-making in the ‘black box society’ and how that affects users. In doing so, this chapter reviews the body of empirical studies on copyright intermediary liability during the twenty-year period from 1998 to 2018, drawing on the Copyright Evidence Wiki, an open-access repository of findings related to copyright’s effects. Based on the survey of this body of research, the chapter identifies and discusses five key sub-fields of empirical inquiry pursued so far: the volume of takedown requests; the accuracy of notices; the potential for over-enforcement or abuse; transparency of the takedown process; and the costs of enforcement borne by different parties. Finally, the chapter identifies some of the gaps and limitations in this existing body of scholarship, and offers a number of recommendations for future research.

Item Type:Book Sections
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kretschmer, Professor Martin and Erickson, Dr Kristofer
Authors: Erickson, K., and Kretschmer, M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Law
Publisher:Oxford University Press

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