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Home arrow Research Projects arrow IP7 - eDiversity arrow Project Description
Project Description Print

Digitisation has rendered all information expressible in lines of zeroes and ones and has made communication at the speed of light almost trivial. New digital technologies, the proliferation of networks and the ubiquitous online environment leading to significant changes in the traditional business and market models, and requiring novel forms of copyright protection and repositioning of market players. There is an emerging and ever-strengthening concentration of market power horizontally as well as vertically – along the entire value chain. The music and film industries and essentially all content industries are thus faced with serious ramifications.

At the centre of IP7, eDiversity, are precisely these repercussions of digital technologies upon content industries, the resulting shift in the distribution of cultural content from traditional channels (such as cinemas, books, music discs and analogue broadcasting) towards digital environments and the impact of this shift upon the legal protection of cultural diversity. The plethora of questions arising in this context need to be analysed against the background of the law of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the decisions taken in the framework of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and the International Telecommunications Union (ITU).

The eDiversity concept for addressing these questions may be best described as comprising three main steps:

(i) The first step essentially outlines the topics relevant to the project (for a visualisation, please, see the mindmap here). Cultural diversity in new electronic environments (or eDiversity), as IP7’s title indicates, is at the core of all analyses and an unvarying reference point. Human rights and governance issues may then be depicted as two concentric circles around the centre of cultural diversity that are of critical relevance to every aspect of eDiversity.
Stemming from the core as defined above, five research flows have been identified, namely:

  • Free trade and cultural diversity
  • Copyright and cultural diversity
  • Media regulation and cultural diversity
  • Competition law and cultural diversity
  • Development and cultural diversity

Within these broadly defined research flows, a number of more concrete sub-topics are being explored and further formulated. A selection of the current IP7 projects exemplifies this sub-level:

  • Traditional knowledge and cultural diversity
  • Free trade and cultural diversity in a human rights context
  • Audiovisual media in the law of the WTO
  • UNESCO Convention on Cultural Diversity and the WTO
  • Public policy, public goods, competition law and cultural diversity
  • Global Internet governance – impact on media pluralism
  • World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) and cultural diversity
  • Satellite television and developing countries
  • European Community media regulation for digital networked environments: the revision of the EC Television without Frontiers Directive
  • Internet Activities of public service broadcasters
  • New media and cultural diversity
  • Internet gaming – is there a need to regulate massive multiplayer online role-playing games (MMORPG)?
  • Digital cinema initiatives (DCI): the impact of DCI on cultural diversity
  • Digital libraries (Google Book Search), copyright and cultural diversity

(ii) The second step is to try to see the development of the above topics and their interaction over time. These fields will be explored using an iterative approach, thereby simultaneously defining the problem of protection of cultural diversity anew through the feedback from the topics already addressed.

(iii) Ultimately, strategies for the efficient and effective protection of cultural diversity will be developed. These will seek to achieve a balance between the goals of free trade and policy measures for cultural protection and to formulate a coherent model of content regulation.


SNF - Swiss National Science Foundation The National Centres of Competence in Research are a research instrument of the Swiss National Science Foundation