[iDC] Another late introduction

Niva Elkin-Koren elkiniva at research.haifa.ac.il
Tue Jul 7 11:57:14 UTC 2009

Trebor invited me to participate at the conference and to introduce myself
to the list. I have intended to introduce myself a number of times but never found a
good opportunity to jump in. With the fascinating conversations that are
taking place, it is actually becoming harder each day..

I am a law professor at the University of Haifa Faculty of Law, and the
director of the Haifa Law and Technology Center.

Last year, Ellen Goodman and I held an international workshop on Social
Media and the Commodification of Community. The workshop explored the rise
of new forms of market mediation which are making individuals instruments
of commerce in ways that are less transparent, and more widespread, than
ever before.

My work revolves around issues of information policy and governance in
social media platforms, focusing mostly on ownership in UGC and on access
and participation in  commercial/non-commercial contexts. Our analysis
online liberarties often focus on laws, terms of use and architecture, as
the single source of threat and remedy, assuming that individual liberties
must be secured against abuse by governments and corporations. Yet,
threats to freedom and civil rights in the online environment are also
horizontal, created by peers and crowds. What is missing, in my opinion,
in much of the legal discourse related to social media is the Social. This
dimension is what makes the market analysis, and as a matter of fact also
the Neo-Marxist analysis, somewhat limited. This social dynamic is a
mixture of both commercial and non-commercial interactions,
transitory/ad-hoc and long term stakes, where power is often diffused but
nonetheless significant in shaping the behavior of users and platforms. I
see my current challenge in trying to model this triangle: users,
platforms and social dynamic.

I have recently published a couple of papers along these lines: on the
limits of the market paradigm and the Contract as Product economic
perception for analyzing the relationship between users and social media
platforms: Governing Access to Users-Generated-Content: The Changing
Nature of Private Ordering in Digital Networks

Another paper (User-Generated Platforms) revisits standard copyright law
in the context of social production of content.

I am looking forward to seeing you all in November.


Professor Niva Elkin-Koren
Director, Haifa Center of Law & Technology
Faculty of Law, University of Haifa
Mount Carmel, Haifa 31905, Israel
Tel:  972-4-824-0638
Fax: 972-4-824-0681

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