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The University of Sydney/University of Glasgow Partnership Collaboration Award


28-31 March 2023

A research encounter under The ‘Creative Economy and Cultural Transformations’ Theme

at the University of Glasgow’s Advanced Research Centre

The Symposium’s Funding

We gratefully acknowledge the support of the University of Sydney/University of Glasgow Partnership Collaboration Awards


Glasgow, 29-30 March 2023


Reporting team

Aline Iramina

Stefan Luca

Ann McCluskey

Ayse Gizem Yasar


Report co-ordinator

Stefan Luca



Philip Schlesinger


29 March 2023

Keynote Lecture by Professor Terry Flew (USyd); Professors Kate Oakley (UofG) and Michael Russell (UofG) responded

‘A return to nation-building through culture? The quest for an Australian national cultural policy, 2001-2022’

The discussion of Scotland came under the Chatham House Rule

The lecture addressed the vicissitudes of Australian cultural policy development over the past two decades. Engagement with ‘creative industries’ as a mobilising discourse across different federal and state governments was examined, noting conservative governments’ preference for an alternative ‘excellence in the arts’ approach. Flew emphasised the role of ministerial personalities, geography, socio-economic demographics, as well as diverse understandings of ‘culture’ in informing Australian policy decisions. The five pillars of the most recent national cultural policy – ‘Revive’ – were surveyed: first nations first, a place for every story, centrality of the artist, strong cultural infrastructure & engaging the audience. The policy has moved beyond an economic framing, only referring to creative industries as needing democratisation, and to creative work to centre concerns around employment conditions and harassment. These concerns would be addressed through new codes of conduct, a recurring theme throughout the symposium.

The respondents commended the Australian pillar approach, structuring public consultations and anchoring subsequent decisions. They outlined parallels and differences with the UK in general, and Scotland specifically. Post-Brexit contradictions included on emphasis on the UK’s soft power, while some of its key sites – the BBC and British universities – are attacked by government in UK’s culture wars. ‘Levelling up’ had little impact on cultural policy and a hostility to ‘creative industries discourse after New Labour had put pressure on budgets. Similar to Australia, arts and creative industries are decoupling in UK policy. There is an uneasy relationship with ‘digital’, considered too important for a culture ministry, and moved to the new Department for Science, Innovation and Technology. In Scotland, the history of policy under devolution was traced with the notable establishment of Creative Scotland as a key agency. In many respects, cultural policy was not contentious given the absence of cultural nationalism. There were some parallels between the place of first nations in Australian cultural policy and the protecting linguistic heritage of Scots and Gaelic.

In the round table discussion, Martin Kretschmer interrogated a standalone cultural policy in light of its extensive intersections with other ministerial portfolios. Terry Flew replied by placing policy in the context of Australia’s ungenerous funding for the arts and culture, highlighting the way particular states set priorities, such as games in Victoria, and cited the usefulness of focusing on Australian stories when demanding investment through streaming platforms’ localisation. Kate Oakley emphasised that factors impacting on creative industries are often outside of ‘culture’: education and immigration, for example. Therefore, ‘narrating’ culture is important, rather than claiming ownership over it. This foreshadowed the discussions on the second day on the need for dialogue between different sectoral policy makers.

A second strand focused on the electoral salience of cultural policy: while no constituent ever asked about it at an MP’s surgery, there has always been public support for spending on culture. While good working conditions were desirable for all workers, in an Australian context, focusing on creative workers appealed to affluent ABC-watching, theatre-going voters. There was an additional gender dynamic, as addressing #metoo concerns in the creative sector contrasted favourably with the male-inclined priorities of conservative politics.


Panel 1, chaired by Dr Melanie Selfe (UofG)

Dr Jonathon Hutchinson (USyd), ‘What value of cultural analytics? Discerning value in digital environments’

Previewing his upcoming book, Jonathon Hutchinson explored the relationship between metrics and discerning value in digital environments. Taking the example of Revive, Australia’s new cultural policy, he highlighted that different goals require different metrics, whether prioritising first nations’ stories or engaging the audience. Researchers needed to go beyond the ‘vanity metrics’ provided by digital platforms (Rogers 2018).  Recalling Schwartz’s theory of basic human values and Bourdieu’s social mediation of taste, he emphasised that digital intermediation meant a growing influence of non-human processes over content creation (what Ted Striphas has called algorithmic culture). He concluded by outlining a research and policy agenda that sought cultural analytics alternatives to those defined by platforms.

Dr Kris Erickson (University of Leeds), ‘Creative industries policy and artificial intelligence’

To interrogate myths of AI adoption in the creative industries, Kris Erickson presented interim results from multiple case-studies of firms spanning architecture, music and video games. The emerging-use cases focused on rapid ideation and augmenting creativity, dispelling concerns over the substitution of humans by AI. In fact, there was an increased investment of human resources, by adding computer scientists and programmers. A second myth concerned AI’s potential to deceive audiences, who on the contrary showed a sophisticated understanding of AI-assisted artefacts and their dialogue with prior works. AI played a marketing role and the resulting works were similar to fan-fiction. On the intellectual property front, licensing uncertainty over upstream training data and the need for third-party software may disproportionately hinder smaller producers, while favouring incumbent media owners who can experiment in-house.

Round-table discussion

On analysing cultural value, John Hartley maintained that social science, focusing on universal characteristics, was the wrong frame. Additionally, value operated at different scales, from the individual to the species. Martin Kretschmer emphasised that cultural analytics occupied a contested policy space, including proposals for content visibility obligations.

On the creative uses of AI, the discussion further explored the interaction between AI and fandoms (see Lamerichs). Kris Erickson outlined his upcoming research on critics’ reviews of AI-assisted artefacts. Martin Kretschmer highlighted different approaches to data-mining in the EU, UK and US. On AI’s impact on costs, the role of collaborative or volunteer work was addressed, and Gillian Doyle underlined the paradox of technology increasing production costs.


Panel 2, chaired by Dr Lynn Whitaker (UofG)

Dr Joanne Gray (USyd), ‘Risk and abuse: exploring everyday copyright enforcement on YouTube’

Joanne Gray presented research exploring private copyright enforcement on YouTube, through a qualitative analysis of 144 videos addressing creators’ opinions, theories, and strategies. She focused on private enforcement as an ever-present threat to YouTubers’ livelihoods, even when they had never infringed copyright. The main problems with YouTube’s manual mechanisms included false claims, coming from unidentified sources, and appeals structured in favour of the copyright claimant. Moreover, YouTube had concluded agreements with certain copyright owners that led to automated enforcement and waived appeals and counter-notices. The research informed her recommendations to the Australian government’s review of industry-led copyright enforcement: 1. Requiring claimants’ contact details; 2. Ensuring due process; 3. Penalties for abusive claims.

Dr Amy Thomas (UofG), ‘Who gets to be an author? A qualitative analysis of authors’ earnings and professional working lives’

Amy Thomas presented the follow up to her quantitative survey of UK authors’ earnings. Overall, being an author had to be subsidised by a second job or someone else’s job. This echoed David Throsby’s work in Australia. Amy Thomas’s qualitative investigation looked at under-represented categories, such as Black authors and under-25s, as well as the effects of the pandemic. The latter had very uneven effects on women authors, depending on gendered expectations around childcare and home-schooling. A qualitative approach surfaced other demographic variables: disabilities, mobility issues, and anxiety, correlated with a beneficial effect from lockdown. The qualitative approach was providing answers for the disparities previously identified in the quantitative research.

Round-table discussion

On authors’ earnings, the discussion kicked off with the role of class, that came up in the qualitative research, and that could be included in future surveys through a question on ‘class of origin’. While the ALCS survey had been very broad, there was some concern that the under-representation of under-25s stemmed from alternative online avenues, such as YouTube. Turning to ways of improving incentives for writers, participants cited prizes for specific categories, changes to contractual practices such as advances or limits on Netflix-style buyouts, as well as legal tweaks such as reversion of copyright.

On YouTube enforcement, the discussion highlighted that creators were well versed in copyright practices and their basis in US law, for instance copyright enforcement used as a proxy for libel. The EU’s Digital Services Act (DSA)would change YouTube’s mechanisms and reliance on US law. Manual enforcement by management companies, which was most prone to abuse, was another form of industrial content moderation. The potential for rightsholders’ practices to liberalise was highlighted, as in the case of sports over the last years.


Panel 3, chaired by Professor Gillian Doyle (UofG)

Dr Ula Furgał (UofG), ‘The emperor has no clothes: how the press publishers’ right implementation exposes its shortcomings’

Ula’ Furgał s paper addressed the press publishers’ right, described as the EU’s response to the clash between news media and digital platforms. She placed the right in the context of public interventions aimed at digital platforms, noting a widening of the regulatory concerns beyond intellectual property since the adoption of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market (CSDM) Directive and the use of competition frames without specific recourse to competition law.

Now at the national implementation stage, the press publishers’ right is being transmogrified. As opposed to Australia, EU law does not provide a framework for getting the platforms to the negotiating table or having them act in good faith. Addressing these bargaining challenges goes against the contractual freedom of both platforms and news publishers. Further confusion reigns over the applicability of this right to social media platforms. The paper provides a resoundingly negative answer, as news on social media is communicated by users rather than platforms, and user rights were specifically carved out by the CDSM directive.

Milica Stilinovic (USyd), ‘Is academia dead? Or is it dying? Lessons from the newsroom for Open Access publishing’

Milica Stilinovic suggested that changes to academic publishing towards ‘the access principle’ were inevitable. Adopting a ‘smash and grab’ epistemological approach, she offered three lessons from the digital transformation of news media: a focus on diversity and including the experiences of the Global South (e.g., Al Jazeera), following where the story leads, and serving the audience’s needs. In a world of information abundance, journalism further offered examples of successful adaptations towards contextualising and explaining, rather than just breaking news (e.g., the Washington Post). Milica Stilinovic suggested that it is incumbent on academia to open its citadels of knowledge to the general public and to communicate these ideas more straightforwardly.

Round-table discussion

Questions to Ula Furgał focused on the role of platforms in news distribution. While the law often addresses platforms generically, news titles have a specific focus in mind, and that is Facebook. This is where the distribution of, and renumeration from, content is really focused. Not all platforms play similar roles for publishers. Indeed, Google and its news product, which instigated the publishers’ right, barely registers in debates. Policy debates shift according to the publishers’ monetary focus. Attention has now moved to Canada in the aftermath of Australia’s policy enactments around platform regulation.

Responses to Milica Stilinovic’s paper varied. Melanie Selfe emphasised the diversity of academic cultures, e.g., computer science’s embrace of beta versions and transparency around rejecta, which Milica Stilinovic embraced as an example of the change she was advocating. Others described ‘open access’ as Orwellian, entrenching academic inequalities, or lamented that universities have taken economics too much to heart. A third line of comments engaged with the relationship between publicity and knowledge. For some, internet search was a public good, whereas others underlined that academic publishing is about the codification of knowledge (presumably for a specialist audience).


Panel 4, chaired by Professor John Hartley (USyd)

Dr Inge Sørensen (UofG), ‘Green screens: Screen Scotland, sustainability and the climate crisis’

Inge Sørensen’s paper addressed the push for sustainability by screen agencies in small Northern European countries. It reviewed the efforts of various film production stakeholders to generate greener working practices, noting a proliferation of sustainability standards, with different scopes and substantive requirements, that screen productions can resort to for certification. Instead of structural and systemic changes to address climate impacts, a common response was to resort to sustainability managers, tasked with advocacy and coordination between sectors. Overall, screen agencies lacked a specific climate mandate, or indeed capacity and expertise. More fundamentally, a net-zero agenda was hard to reconcile with these bodies’ remit to expand production opportunities in their respective jurisdictions.

Ayşe Gizem Yaşar (UofG), ‘Behind the curtains of green innovation: a critical analysis of the innovation imperative’

The presentation traced the intellectual history of innovation, from it initial connotation of negative social change to its economic re-interpretation by Schumpeter. The latter nevertheless emphasised individual contributions and was sceptical of antitrust interventions, making his enlistment my contemporary competition policy somewhat paradoxical. Ayşe criticised the association between innovation and growth which underpins much of EU thinking, including in green transition policies. As an alternative, she highlighted Mariana Mazzucato’s calls for ‘missionary’ innovation policies.

Round-table discussion

The discussion explored the parallels between the two papers, in particular how a focus on growth appeared as an inherent obstacle to meaningful sustainability policies. The example of the Netherlands was cited to address the uneasy relationship between competition policy and the cooperation required by standard setting, including those for sustainability. More generally, competition policy’s fixation on ‘consumer welfare’ side-tracked other societal goals. This echoed John Hartley’s inaugural lecture’s concerns about global goals needing global movements and was picked up the following day in a discussion of the regulatory arrangements needed to accommodate such goals. Philip Schlesinger noted that cultural analysis could expose the politics and power dynamics underlying these contradictions between policy and action.


Panel 5, chaired by Dr Joanne Gray (USyd)

Professor Raymond Boyle (UofG), ‘Stream the rivalry: sport in the platform age and the case of F1

For his upcoming book with Richard Haynes, Raymond Boyle used F1 as a sustained case study to research how sports and media have evolved in the digital economy. F1 had a series of particularities: a global sport with a historic deficit in North America, a business model that was late to switch from sponsors to pay-TV, and entirely controlled by one media company. These features translated into a series of partnerships that build and extend F1’s brand: first with Netflix, for storytelling through Drive to survive, second with Sky TV, to provide a low-cost product that local broadcasters can customise, and finally in a willingness to forgo social media monetisation. Developing F1’s own streaming platform has helped geographical growth and keeping partners in check.

PhD Researcher Matteo Frigeri (UofG), ‘CREATe’s e-lending research project

Matteo Frigeri presented reflections on e-lending and the role of libraries in the wider context of regulating digital access to knowledge. Initial findings from surveying public libraries and interviewing librarians pointed to licensing arrangements lacking transparency and being marred by excessive prices. The market approach to e-lending, favoured by the EU since 1982, had failed to deliver the expected results, in part because of publishers’ concerns that the mass lending of works would cannibalise sales. The copyright notion of lending was useless in the digital domain as libraries did not have a right to access digital books in the first place.

Round-table discussion

The discussion of e-lending centred on the need to empirically test existing narratives and to think about creative solutions, whether digital exhaustion or a library deposit requirement for e-books. Recalling the CJEU’s judgement in C-263/18 Tom Kabinet, whereby e-lending is covered by an exclusive right, Martin Kretschmer emphasised the power of such rights to shape an entire sector.

Raymond Boyle highlighted the complementarity between live sports, which Netflix avoids as too expensive, and strong narrative documentaries, such as Drive to survive which reached people not interested in F1. In turn, the film-makers’ vision was made possible by centralised control over the sport. F1’s partnership with Sky TV based in a large UK media environment, rather than following the global itinerary of races, provided a way for reducing the climate impact of screen entertainment.


30 March 2023

The Regulation Policy Forum

This session was subject to the Chatham House Rule

The members of the forum were Professor Éric Brousseau (Université Paris-Dauphine), Ms Kate Davies (Ofcom), Mr Robin Van Mulders (Competition and Markets Authority – Digital Markets Unit) and Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (House of Lords). The forum was chaired by Professor Philip Schlesinger

A discussion of the UK Online Safety Bill (OSB) started with its lengthy gestation and the solid processes that had kept it on track. A similar continuity of tech policy was noted in Australia. Nevertheless, concerns were raised in the discussion over the OSB’s provisions regarding the relationship between the Secretary of State and Ofcom, as well as the perceived weak parliamentary procedures envisaged by the Bill. On the substantive side, concerns were also noted about individual takedown appeals, mis- and dis-information, and whether the Bill does enough to ensure the protection of children. That said, there was also acknowledgement that the Bill could bring benefits.

A series of contributions addressed regulatory cooperation at the domestic and international level, as well as making comparisons to the EU experience. Domestically in the UK, the discussion focused on the Digital Regulation Co-operation Forum [DRCF] bringing together Ofcom, the Competition and Markets Authority [CMA], the Information Commissioner’s Office [ICO], and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This had been a voluntary initiative prompted by the recognition of a need for greater regulatory collaboration.

Joint statements were singled out in debate as a tool for regulators to signal their emerging views on policy interactions to industry, civil society and politicians, e.g., on online safety and competition. The forum, it was held, also provided a way to reconcile regulators’ overlapping or conflicting mandates. For instance, both Ofcom and the CMA have responsibilities in respect of some mergers, while the CMA and the ICO have identified different but overlapping concerns over Google’s proposal to eliminate third-party cookies from its Chrome browser. The forum allows such issues to be considered and addressed jointly. Finally, the forum has offered an opportunity for horizon-scanning and collaborative capabilities development, e.g., on matters such as the metaverse or regarding how best to monitor and address concerns associated with algorithmic processing.

On the issue of international co-operation, the aim was coherence, but there was a willingness for the UK to act faster than other jurisdictions, if possible. Examples of complementarity were cited such as the CMA’s and ICO’s role in supervising the development and implementation of Google’s privacy sandbox proposals, while at the same time equivalent authorities in the Netherlands had made strong progress in areas like understanding cloud services. Pertinently, it was noted that Ofcom had issued an interim report on its market study of the cloud. Developing national regulatory knowledge and capability which could subsequently be shared was seen as key to fruitful international cooperation.

In this respect, it was anticipated that the present plethora of EU legislation would follow the GDPR’s path of under-enforcement, even though alternative arrangements could remove the Irish regulatory bottleneck. Networking between EU regulators was characterised as informal and lacking strategic direction with member states often pursuing their own paths. National political priorities also influenced regulators’ mandates, complicating co-operation within the EU.

Overall, EU, UK and Australian substantive approaches were seen as similar enough to enable cooperation, focusing principally on regulating systems rather than content and requiring risk management by digital platforms. Whether truly global cooperation was required or just a matter to be worked out between like-minded authorities, e.g., between OECD countries, was further discussed. Nevertheless, concerns were raised that new technologies, whether these be AI or the metaverse, were increasingly challenging common understandings of the object of regulation. Furthermore, regulatory regimes might take a narrow view of online safety, neglecting societal or indeed planetary harms.


Panel 6, chaired by PhD researcher Aline Iramina (UofG)

Professor Martin Kretschmer (UofG), ‘Platform regulation, codes of practice and the Ministry of Truth’

Martin Kretschmer’s presentation addressed codes of practice as an emerging tool of platform regulation in both the UK and the EU, ostensibly a flexible mechanism to address platform innovation. He systematically reviewed existing UK codes to uncover significant variability: named codes of practice or conduct might be drafted by industry or a regulator, might be with or without a statutory status. Further questions concerned the monitoring, enforcement, and transparency arrangements. In the EU, the Digital Services Act (DSA) calls for codes of conduct as means for platforms to comply with their obligations. Recently, the pre-existing self-regulatory Code of Practice against Disinformation had been recognised under the DSA. Martin Kretschmer avers that these phenomena are not well understood in our legal system and that codes are more than a ‘framework for a structured dialogue’!

Dr Chunmeizi Su (USyd), ‘Borderline practices on Douyin/TikTok: Content Transfer, Fake Accounts and Algorithmic Platformisation’

Chunmeizi Su’s paper tackled forms of ‘borderline’, i.e., unexpected or unauthorised, activity on TikTok and Douyin, its Chinese-market version. The first issue concerned content pools, the platforms’ selection of content from one market to make it available in different geographies. The second concerned contractors employed by multi-channel networks (MCNs) to follow scripts that copied the online performances of famous influencers. China affords little IP protection for user-generated content. The platforms attempt to contain such copying, despite their complicated relationship to MCNs. In March 2022, the Cyberspace Administration of China required social media platforms to introduce an off-button for algorithmic recommendations, hence reducing the impetus to create facsimile videos. However, the legislation had little impact as this ‘button’ was made difficult to locate. Making algorithms opt-in is currently considered as an alternative.

Round-table discussion

The discussion clarified that OSB codes of practice would have a statutory basis but be non-binding; their level of parliamentary scrutiny was still being debated. It was observed that codes of practice would be issued by the regulator but with a process of consultation to ensure input from both big tech and the long tail of thousands of smaller services.

Further discussion highlighted both the move towards statutory regulation and the increasing barriers to entry for participation in the platform regulation conversation. The importance of media literacy and parental involvement were underlined. The key role of research in online safety regulation was underlined.

The discussion of borderline practices focused on the harms that might derive from the uses of content pools and addressed the merits of opt-in versus opt-out approaches to algorithmic recommendations.


Panel 7, chaired by Dr Jonathon Hutchinson (USyd)

Dr Surjasama Lahiri (Université Paris-Dauphine), ‘Comparative digital regulation in the context of G20 countries’

Surjasama Lahiri presented his research on digital regulation, with a focus on data protection. His aim is to construct a two-dimensional database covering first, substantive regulatory concepts and requirements, and second, institutional arrangements including the independence and powers of regulators. This can be used to test various hypotheses on the relationship between substantive rules and institutional arrangements, as well as serve as independent variables for economic or innovative outcomes.

The discussion compared the proposed database to existing taxonomies, such as the OECD’s or CIVICA’s digital trade integration indicators. Suggestions for additional indicators included available remedies and the rule of law, the goals entrusted to regulators and whether these concerned individual or collective harms, and whether regulators had cross-sectoral responsibilities.


Panel 8, chaired by Professor Terry Flew (USyd)

Professor Gillian Doyle (UofG), ‘Digital transformation public service media: the case of Ireland’

Gillian Doyle talked about her experience on the Commission on the Future of Media in Ireland. The Irish dual model of public service media financing was under strain as both advertising and compulsory license fee revenues were decreasing. While funding through general taxation would be the best solution, the government shied away because of the perceived threat to PSM on implementation grounds. In the end there are no solutions, just trade-offs. PSM filled gaps in national coverage left by digital streamers and supported creative economies, pushing market boundaries to the benefit of citizens (Mazzucato). The Irish experience reminds us that politics is unescapable when you talk about media.

Stefan Luca (UofG), ‘Breaking out in tiers: exempting news publishers from content regulation’

Stefan Luca placed on a spectrum voluntary tiered governance arrangements relating to journalism, from platforms’ news initiatives to journalism credibility implementations, and calls for mandatory news tiers, from the failed attempts at a media exemption in the Digital Services Act, to the draft European Media Freedom Act and the protections for journalistic and news publisher content in the UK Online Safety Bill. He reviewed the clash between content moderation and journalistic interest, the challenges of content-based newsworthiness exceptions at scale and the comparative advantages of actor-based special procedures. Tiering practices raised common concerns, either endangering press independence or jeopardizing legitimate moderation goals such as containing misinformation. The proposed solution was to anchor a tiered regime in effective press self-regulation.

Round-table discussion

In the discussion of public service media, Philip Schlesinger noted a defensive turn focusing on securing places and spaces in this new and inauspicious world. In the field of communications this translated into import restrictions for certain technologies, while public service media could be seen as essential infrastructure. The latter argument could apply to the software infrastructure controlled by private platforms. The Irish experience was informative for the upcoming Media Bill in the UK. Nevertheless, John Hartley noted the slippage between public service and public interest media, while Terry Flew contested the notion that public service broadcasting could create a ‘public sphere’.

The discussion of news exemptions addressed the inherent lack of transparency in the debate about tiering practices, the long shadow of the partially-completed Leveson Inquiry in the UK, and potential conflicts with amendments to the Official Secrets Act (1923), allowing, for instance, hacked materials to remain online for a long time.


Closing remarks

Terry Flew provided an overview of the substantive issues raised in the symposium. He was pleased that so much ground had been covered. He looked forward to further development of the partnership and a reciprocal visit.

Philip Schlesinger said that the symposium achieved its purposes of creating a space for dialogue and exchange, the discovery of new work, and crossing disciplinary boundaries. The participants were congratulated for their commitment to clarity of presentation and sensitive chairing of sessions. He thanked the Symposium Committee and those reporting and otherwise supporting the event in the myriad of ways essential to a successful outcome. Now, it was a matter of further exploring the connections made and building on these.


29 March 2023

09.00: Welcomes
Professor Philip Schlesinger (UofG) and Professor Terry Flew (USyd), Partnership Collaboration Award Chief Investigators
Professor Dauvit Broun, on behalf of the College of Arts (UofG)

09.20: Opening Lecture, chaired by Professor Philip Schlesinger (UofG)
Professor Terry Flew (USyd), ‘A return to nation-building through culture: the quest for an Australian national cultural policy, 2001-2022’
09.50: Responses by Professor Kate Oakley (UofG) and Professor Michael Russell (UofG)
10.10: Q&A

10.30: Panel 1, chaired by Dr Melanie Selfe (UofG)
Dr Jonathon Hutchinson (USyd), ‘What value of cultural analytics? Discerning value in digital environments’
Professor Kris Erickson (University of Leeds), ‘Creative industries policy and artificial intelligence’
11.00: Q&A

11.45: Panel 2, chaired by Dr Lynn Whitaker (UofG)
Dr Joanne Gray (USyd), ‘Risk and abuse: exploring everyday copyright enforcement on YouTube’
Dr Amy Thomas (UofG), ‘Who gets to be an author? A qualitative analysis of authors’ earnings and professional working lives’
12.15: Q&A

14.00: Panel 3, chaired by Professor Gillian Doyle (UofG)
Dr Ula Furgał (UofG), ‘The emperor has no clothes: how the press publishers’ right implementation exposes its shortcomings’
PhD Researcher Milica Stilinovic (USyd), ‘Is academia dead? Or is it dying? Lessons from the newsroom for Open Access Publishing’
14.30: Q&A

15.00: Panel 4, chaired by Professor John Hartley (USyd)
Dr Inge Sørensen (UofG), ‘Green screens: Screen Scotland, sustainability and the climate crisis’
Research Associate Ayşe Gizem Yaşar (UofG), ‘Behind the curtains of green innovation: a critical analysis of the innovation imperative’
15.30: Q&A

16.20: Panel 5, chaired by Dr Joanne Gray (USyd)
Professor Raymond Boyle (UofG), ‘Stream the rivalry: sport in the platform age and the case of F1’
Dr Kenneth Barr (UofG), ‘Everything … all the time: content on-demand in three cultural sectors’
16.50: Q&A

17.20: Close

30 March 2023

09.00: Welcomes
Professor Graeme Roy (UofG), on behalf of the College of Social Sciences
Professor Sarah Cook (UofG), on behalf of the ARC ‘Creative Economy and Cultural Transformations’ Research Theme

09.20-10.45: The Regulation Policy Forum, chaired by Professor Philip Schlesinger (UofG)
This session will be subject to the Chatham House Rule
Professor Eric Brousseau (Université Paris-Dauphine)
Ms Kate Davies (Ofcom)
Mr Robin Van Mulders (Digital Markets Unit)
Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (House of Lords)
10.10: Q&A

10.45: Panel 6, chaired by PhD Researcher Aline Iramina (UofG)
Professor Martin Kretschmer (UofG), ‘Platform regulation, codes of practice and the Ministry of Truth’
Dr Chunmeizi Su (USyd), ‘Borderline practices on Douyin/TikTok: Content Transfer, Fake Accounts and Algorithmic Platformisation’
11.15: Q&A

12.00: Panel 7, chaired by Dr Jonathon Hutchinson (USyd)
Dr Surjasama Lahiri (Université Paris-Dauphine), ‘Comparative digital regulation in the context of G20 countries’
Dr Magali Eben (UofG), ‘Regulating the power of platforms: how the times are changing in competition policy’
12.15: Q&A

14.00: Panel 8, chaired by Professor Terry Flew (USyd)
Professor Gillian Doyle (UofG), ‘Digital transformation public service media: the case of Ireland’
Research Associate Stefan Luca (UofG), ‘Breaking out in tiers: exempting news publishers from content regulation’
14.30: Q&A

15.00: Closing reflections
Professors Terry Flew and Philip Schlesinger

15.20: Round-table discussion

15.45: Close

Symposium Committee
Philip Schlesinger
Stefan Luca
Ayşe Gizem Yaşar
Diane McGrattan


29 March

Opening lecture – 9.20

A Return to Nation-Building Through Culture? The Quest for an Australian National Cultural Policy 2001-2022

Terry Flew

This paper will explore the dynamics of discussions in Australia around developing a National Cultural Policy (NCP) from the turn of the millennium to the election of the Albanese Federal Labor government in 2022 and its consultative process for developing a national cultural policy. It will be argued that for much of the 2000s and 2010s, the primary driver of cultural policies were state governments, while policies towards the arts, communication and media remained largely fragmented at the national level. This was partly because of “culture wars” framing by the conservative governments that rules for much of this period, but the Rudd-Gillard Labor governments also largely failed to deliver on a national cultural policy commensurate with their ambitions. One consequence of state governments largely driving the agenda was that the lines between “culture” and “industry” were frequently blurred, as cultural strategies tended to be linked to an economic development agenda.

Perhaps mindful of the failure of their predecessors to prioritise cultural policy, the Albanese Labor Government has moved quickly to prepare such a policy, framed around five pillars: First Nations First; a place for every story; the centrality of the artist; strong institutions; and reaching the audience. Reviewing over 1200 submissions received for the NCP consultative process, the paper will focus upon two of these – the First Nations First agenda and the centrality of the artist. It will also consider the impact of COVID-19 upon cultural policy and cultural institutions in Australia, arguing that one consequence was a boom in those sectors associated with digital creativity and entertainment (screen, games etc.), and a crisis in other fields of the arts, particularly those based around live performance.

Panel 1 – 10.30

What Value of Cultural Analytics? Discerning value in digital environments

Jonathon Hutchinson 

In September 2022, The Australian newspaper, The Oz, released its Influencer Index which ranks the Top 100 most influential social media influencers in the country. The Oz say the list was developed from ‘the world-leading study of Australia’s top 100 creators… [determined by] relatability, trustworthiness, expertise, attraction, content prominence, and content frequency’. However, a number of Sydney based digital agencies have snubbed the Index by noting these influencers may have high follower numbers but are not suitable for the social media campaigns they facilitate. Similarly, in Vietnam, social media users with a following base of over 10,000 must register their personal details with Government officials to mitigate some recent anti-State behaviours (Tho Le & Hutchinson, 20222). Again, this is a minority of users compared with the overall user base and popularity of online content creation. These two case studies represent not only what Striphas (2016) highlighted as the transition of culture to automated processes, but also what Manovich (2020) terms as a need for cultural analytics. That is, we can measure online content creation by platform designed mechanisms such as vanity metrics (likes, followers, shares, etc.) but this has little relevance to the value and its contribution to our cultural fabric.

Embedded in the social media visibility literature, this presentation provides an overview of the variety of metrics currently available within our everyday platformization experiences. In doing so, the research explores how these vanity metrics can move towards a more valuable management system that engages cultural analytics to understand a more nuanced digital media environment. The results have implications for online content creators, agencies who manage the creators, cultural institutions operating in these spaces, and the digital intermediation processes that determine cultural production (Hutchinson, 2021). With an understanding of a better-informed measurement system for online content creation within digital media environments, policymakers too are better placed to ensure cultural and public policies are developed and implemented accordingly to reflect important societal issues of our time, not just those that are ‘popular’ or ‘visible’.

Creative Industries Policy and Artificial Intelligence

Kristofer Erickson

How is the adoption of artificial intelligence impacting work in the creative industries? Legal research has devoted considerable attention to the ontological and legal status of AI creativity, as a complement or competitor to human creators (Bridy, 2012; Kaminsky, 2017; Gervais, 2019; Kop, 2019; Hugenholtz and Quintais, 2021). To assess the status of AI, more empirical precision is needed about the wider industrial conditions under which AI-assisted creations are made, and the impacts these practices are having across the wider creative industries (Lamerichs, 2018; Craig and Kerr, 2019; Farchy and Denis, 2020). Understanding how AI-assisted media are produced is a necessary first step in ascertaining their meaning within our culture and systems of creative production. Like the arrival of other new media technologies in historical contexts, the emergence of AI-assisted creativity is bringing political and socio-economic change (Bolter and Grusin, 2000; Hesmondhalgh, 2007; Curran, 2012). The way these media are defined at this early stage will shape how they are understood within merging legal and economic systems of AI media production, circulation and consumption.

Current socio-legal debates are not sufficiently informed by empirical observation of the use of AI within creative organisations. Some analyses of creative labour point to troubling potential effects associated with AI-assisted production, including substitution or crowding out of traditional products and potential job losses in some sectors of the creative economy (Kop, 2019; Farchy and Denis, 2020; Su et al., 2021). More grounded insight is required about various forms of labour that are mobilised in the production of AI-assisted works, the relationship with previous expressions used in datasets, and the ways that audiences may co-produce meaning in AI-assisted media.

This paper explores production practices involved with AI-assisted creativity to identify economic, industry and policy impacts that are likely to accompany the adoption of AI technologies. The research approach consists of multiple, non-embedded case study of firms that have commercialized creative products where AI was used in production. The sample includes firms across a range of creative industries: interactive games, live performance, photography, architecture and music. Through interviews with creative managers and analysis of the funding and commercialisation strategies employed, this study seeks to assess the extent to which AI substitutes for human creativity, and the ways in which production using AI technology differs from traditional creative industries production. Findings suggest that the current phase of AI adoption is experimental, involving first-time users and a high degree of innovative freedom in development, alongside lack of certainty about commercialisation potential. Commercialisation usually took the form of a technology demonstrator, with promise of future contract work or consulting building off the basis of these experimental platforms. AI labour did not substitute for human labour but increased the overall investment of human time and resources in projects, by adding computer scientists and programmers to the production process, on top of traditional costs of production. Adoption and exploitation of AI technology by creative firms was constrained by intellectual property (including ownership of upstream training data and licensing of third-party software).  Findings indicate that incumbent media owners will enjoy advantages arising from their control of large catalogues of creative inputs and IP, reducing licensing uncertainty and facilitating in-house experimentation. Proliferating private rights and legal uncertainty may disproportionately hinder innovation by smaller producers.

Panel 2 – 11.45

Risk and abuse: exploring everyday copyright enforcement on YouTube 

Joanne Gray

In digital spaces, copyright is governed in significant part by the private copyright rulemaking and enforcement policies of Internet platforms. On YouTube, copyright owners or rightsholders who participate in YouTube’s rights management programs have available to them a wide and evolving array of tools they can use to contest or remove unlicensed content posted by users. These enforcement measures are justified as serving the interest of creators, by protecting their economic rights to remuneration and their moral rights to attribution and integrity. In practice, however, typically only certain creators benefit from these measures. For many YouTube creators, the risk of having a video demonetized or removed from YouTube due to a copyright claim is high, with serious consequences for their content and careers on the platform. When disseminating their works, YouTube creators are required to interact with a complex copyright enforcement system that is highly automated, dynamic, and opaque. Often, these creators post videos sharing their experiences with copyright enforcement on YouTube. They offer interpretations of copyright law and explanations of YouTube’s technical systems, and they share strategies for avoiding copyright strikes, video removals, and account terminations. By sharing their experiences and opinions on the platform, these creators contribute to discourses about copyright policies and practices that are championed as serving their best interests.

This study investigates copyright discourses on YouTube. Through a qualitative content analysis of 144 YouTube videos, we explore how YouTube creators understand copyright enforcement on YouTube and how they navigate a highly technical and dynamic copyright ecosystem. Our findings offer insights into how digitally situated cultural producers react and respond to automated content moderation. This is important because increasingly lawmakers around the world are asking digital platforms to implement efficient systems for content moderation at scale, yet there is a lack of good information about the full range of stakeholders impacted by these regimes.

Who gets to be an author? A qualitative analysis of authors’ earnings and professional working lives  

Amy Thomas

This presentation is based on the findings of the UK Authors’ Earnings and Contracts 2022 report (Thomas, Battisti and Kretschmer), a report commissioned by the UK Authors’ Licensing and Collecting Society based on a survey of UK authors.

In the latest UK Authors’ Earnings and Contracts 2022 report, we find that an author’s creativity is sustained through a complex relationship between intrinsic motivations and economic incentives to create. Authors describe an almost spiritual, mythical inspiration to create, and a passion for their craft that makes their participation in this industry almost inevitable. At the same time, amidst the worst cost of living crisis in living memory, authors also report a, perhaps more banal by comparison, need to ‘keep the lights on’.

We explore the possibility of a cyclical relationship between these two opposing motivations; that the love of an author’s craft has been used to justify a perception that they are altruistic. This perception manifests in disorganised and patchy routes to payment by gatekeepers to key cultural markets, such as publishing houses. Whilst this reality seems at first indiscriminate, we find that writing is not an equal opportunity occupation; as with many cultural markets, writing is not free from systematic bias when allocating rewards.

As such, this presentation asks: who gets to be an author? Who is enabled to both meaningfully participate in, and sustain, participation in this segment of the creative economy? Which of these key opposing motivations ‘wins out’? Using empirical evidence from the 2022 report, this presentation will consist of an analysis of the characteristics of UK authors, with particular emphasis on demographics of gender, ethnicity, age, location, and education levels. This presentation will give an overview of the earnings of UK authors in 2022, with a particular focus on levels of inequality between different demographic groups. To capture the subjectivity and perception of an author’s professional life, this presentation will also explore the rich, qualitative data surrounding their motivations and experiences with inequality.

Panel 3 – 14.00

The emperor has no clothes: how the press publishers’ right implementation exposes its shortcomings

Ula Furgał

This presentation discusses the ongoing implementation of the press publishers’ right provided for in Art. 15 of the Copyright in the Digital Single Market Directive (CDSM). The right is the European Union’s response to the press publishers and digital intermediaries conundrum, which at the point of the right’s proposal was understood quite narrowly, focusing on the publishers’ control over exploitation of their content. Throughout the years the relationship between press and intermediaries has evolved, with an increasing amount of traffic coming to publishers from social media, and platforms consistently growing their share in digital advertising revenues. The global political climate has also altered, with an increasing number of governments considering or taking regulatory actions to address the press-and-intermediaries relationship, most notably Australia adopting the News Media Bargaining Code (the Code) in February 2021. Those changing dynamics have left their mark on the press publishers’ right transposition process, causing some Member States to go beyond the implementation freedoms left by the CDSM Directive.

This presentation analyses EU Member States’ transpositions of the press publishers’ right into their national legal orders through the lens of the legislative intent of the EU legislator, who aimed to strengthen the press publishers’ bargaining position towards digital intermediates while preserving users’ freedom to share information online. It argues that the implementation process visibly exposes the press publishers’ right shortcomings. The negotiation basis that the right provides is neither clear, nor capable of correcting bargaining imbalances, as it is unable to force relevant platforms to the negotiation table. The extension of the scope of the press publishers’ right to social media is questionable, as it inherently influences users’ freedoms. Some Member States look towards what they see as the successful regulatory intervention in Australia and shape the press publishers’ right into something it was not designed to be. The Code’s success story is quite illusory as it does not yet (and may never) apply in practice. Riding the wave of the big tech regulation Member States try to fix a right which has never been fit to achieve the laudable goals it was set to deliver.

Is academia dead? Or is it dying? Lessons from the newsroom for Open Access Publishing.

Milica Stilinovic

A polarising and often open-ended debate regarding the impacts of Open Access (OA) publishing on scholarly work has been waged for decades (see Tennant et al., 2016). These debates, among other factors, have often addressed financial impacts for publishers (Houghton et al., 2009) and the various economic models that could sustain OA approaches (Laakso et al., 2011). Others have considered the advantage of wider citation counts for authors (Antelman, 2004; Harnad & Brody, 2004) and the benefits of wider dissemination of information (Aronesty, 2013). In contrast, the debate also broaches the implications of emerging ‘predatory’ publishers (Beall, 2012) and the detrimental effect of commercial reuse, adaptations, and appropriation of research content (Rowley et al., 2017).

Nonetheless, these scholarly debates often draw insight from academic or policymaking perspective alone, and instead could draw from the experiences of other industries that have shapeshifted due to the impacts of technological progression. Namely, academia could draw from journalism and news-making, an industry that experienced seismic changes with the advent of the internet.

This article aims to draw from the experiences of news houses and appropriate them to the realm of Open Access publishing. It does so to highlight the opportunities that can be drawn from emancipating beyond traditional academic value systems. By adopting a ‘smash-and-grab’ approach (Chasi & Rodny-Gumeidi, 2016) – which aims to draw “usable and valuable insights from anywhere while viably calling for the construction and elaboration of conceptual schema that are locally relevant” (pg.1) – it surveys the shift between old and new journalism. It considers the opportunities presented (albeit initially ignored) via technological advancement, the position of legacy offering legitimacy in a saturated information space, the multi-faceted benefits of collaboration, and economic approaches that not only sustain but reinvigorate research.

Panel 4 – 15.00

Dear Green Screens? Screen Scotland, sustainability and the climate crisis

Inge Sørensen

In the last few years environmental sustainability has emerged as a visible concern within the screen sector and the screen agencies and commissions that support it.

This paper analyses the work performed by North European screen agencies to facilitate a greener film industry. It interrogates the initiatives, interventions and the rhetoric of environmental sustainability within publicly funded agencies in smaller nations including Screen Scotland, Film Cymru, the Danish Film Institute (DFI), The Swedish Film Institute and Vlaams Audiovisueel Fonds (Flanders Audio-visual Fund).  These bodies are not environmental agencies, and so they rarely have specific mandates to act around climate change. Nonetheless, they are a critical source of funding, guidance, resources and mobility for filmmakers, therefore they have some levers which could be, and sometimes are, mobilised to encourage environmental sustainability and change.

The paper points to a typology of responses and actions currently being pursued, revealing commonalties in national approaches, but also several problematic logics underpinning these interventions. The paper demonstrates that any radical ambition to change the environmental credentials of the sector is tempered by the careful balance that screen agencies are mandated to strike around ambitions for economic growth, national competitiveness and innovative creative practice.

Screen Scotland, Scotland’s national screen funder and agency, is a pertinent example of the tensions between the contradictory concerns for environmental and economic sustainability in a global screen economy and climate crisis. With a recent climate action report and a newly appointed Sustainability Manager, Screen Scotland is positioning itself as a global leader in green screen production. This is propelled by the Scottish government’s pledge for carbon neutrality by 2045 and Glasgow’s and Edinburgh’s targets for reaching net-zero by 2030. Yet, the Scottish screen sector is largely predicated on attracting inward investment and  transnational productions though tax incentives and match funding. These funding structures precipitate unsustainable production practices because they incentivise a hypermobile, global workforce, working across multiple locations, and with dispersed, transnational production partners and bases.

The paper concludes that for national screen agencies in Scotland and beyond to be more effective and urgent agents of environmental change, these contradictory priorities would need to be addressed. Fundamental changes would need to happen within the screen agencies and their expertise, funding allocation and mandate.

The paper draws on empirical evidence from the Royal Society of Edinburgh Funded Sustainable Screen Scotland network, interviews, workshops and discussions with professionals within screen agencies and the production sector in Scotland and Europe.

Behind the Curtains of Green Innovation: A Critical Analysis of the Innovation Imperative

Ayşe Gizem Yaşar

‘Innovation’ has long been touted as a solution to myriad social and global problems. It has a prominent place in the EU’s sustainable development agenda, chiefly when it comes to tackling climate change. This approach is in line with the ‘innovation imperative’, according to which innovation should be treated as a ‘central tool for policymaking’, especially for ‘green and inclusive growth’ (OECD 2015). In this context, ‘innovation’ is evidently loaded with a positive connotation. Yet, innovation as such is neither good nor bad. In simple terms, it refers to things that are new, things that come into existence that did not exist before. How then did innovation come to be loaded with such aspirations? And how well-placed are they? This essay questions the innovation imperative in relation to climate change that often manifests itself as ‘green innovation’ or ‘eco-innovation’.

To that end, I will first provide a brief overview of how the scholarly study of innovation developed, from sociology to economics. I will then discuss the study of innovation in economics, in particular how it came to be understood as the main driver of economic growth and the ‘national innovation policy’ framework first developed by neo-Schumpeterian scholars. The more recent research on ‘mission-oriented innovation’ on how innovation can be leveraged to solve socio-economic issues will follow. I will then move to innovation policy of the EU, which reflects the growth theories in economics in two ways: the EU’s growth imperative (i) as a standalone political goal, and (ii) vis-à-vis other geopolitical actors as part of global industrial competition. In so doing, I aim to show that regardless of the promises of innovation, attempts to address climate change with ‘innovation’ at the EU are necessarily subjugated to the growth agenda. This, I argue, not only limits the possibilities offered by novel technologies in addressing climate change, but it also risks creating heavier strains on nature. To support this argument, the paper includes a case study on the EU’s push for wide-spread adoption of battery electric vehicles in a way that amplifies the reduction of carbon emissions from electrification, but risks overlooking the resource-intensive manufacturing processes as well as potential increases in personal vehicle use.

While it is far from certain that humanity will be able to limit global warming to 2 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial levels, I do not contest that any hopes of achieving this goal will necessarily involve novel technologies. I instead argue that policymakers, entrepreneurs, and the public at large need to remain sober about what can be achieved with ‘innovation’.

Panel 5 – 16.20

Stream the Rivalry: Sport in the Platform Age – the Case of F1

Raymond Boyle

The relationship between the media and sport has never been one of equal partners.  While both parties have often derived benefit from the marriage, over the years, one partner, television has come to dominate the media sport nexus.  That we are living through a moment of profound change in the media landscape is beyond dispute and its impact has profound implications for sport.  What these are and how these are being played out across the production, distribution and consumption of media sport are at the core of this research.

This presentation draws on research for a book (being co-authored with Richard Haynes) that examines how sport has been reimagined in the platform age of media development and the rise of the streamers. Taking the global sport of Formula One (F1) motor racing as a sustained case study, it examines how the relationship between the sport and the media has evolved in this digital environment, during a time when the ways in which sports content is produced, distributed, and consumed has changed dramatically.

The research maps out the key changes taking place across the media and communication sectors and how these are mobilised by the new owners of F1, Liberty Media to re-think the sport, its relationship with investors, sponsors, fans and most crucially the media. The development of social media strategy and a more comprehensive digital framework help re-position the sport as it seeks a new digital audience, while attempting to retain its legacy audience.  The work also examines the political and economic context as the sport increases its global reach and highlights the growing importance of the geo-politics of sporting discourse.

Drawing on original interviews with key stakeholders across the media and sports industry, including journalists, broadcasters and those working within the sport of F1, the book places the sport within its broader historical context, identifying the central role that the media, particularly television has played in its history, structure, and governance. This short presentation focuses specifically on the contemporary management of the sports media rights, by the Liberty Media owned commercial rights holder (F1).  It examines how the rise of platforms and streaming is altering the business model of international rights management for the sport, but in a far from universal pattern.

Everything… All the Time: Content On-Demand in Three Cultural Sectors

Kenny Barr

This contribution to the Symposium will reflect on work-in-progress at the Advanced Research Centre (ARC), University of Glasgow examining aspects of the emergence of streaming technologies and business models in three areas of the cultural industries: music commissions for screen, the lending of e-books, and cloud video games.

In the streaming era, audiences are increasingly accustomed to, and desirous of, ‘on-demand’ access to disaggregated content via an array of platforms and devices. In some IP-intensive sectors, such as music and video-on-demand (VoD), iterations of the streaming model e.g. subscription, freemium, ad-funded, have rapidly become preeminent means of disseminating and accessing works. By comparison, the lending of e-books has arguably failed to gain similar traction as, in many respects, print books remain the dominant format. Video games, although a ‘born-digital’ medium, also have a nuanced relationship with on-demand streaming models, particularly in respect of cloud gaming. Identifying and addressing some of the discrete and overarching tensions identified here is the central aim of this paper.

As many of the frictions of the analogue world are eroded by technological and business model innovation, myriad opportunities and challenges are presented to constituencies of corporate and individual actors in these spheres. In turn, this poses a multitude of questions about the efficacy of policy and regulation in these spheres. What are the implications VoDs entering territory occupied by Public Service Broadcasters (PSBs)? To what extent should ‘real world’ frictions inherent in print books, be imposed on e-books? Are closed ecosystems anachronistic in the cloud gaming era? In the UK setting, such issues have attracted the attention of the Intellectual Property Office, the Competition and Markets Authority and the DCMS. Equally, related themes have drawn the gaze of scholars, including those examining: content windowing strategies in the VoD realm (Doyle 2016); publishers’ licensing policies and availability e-books (Giblin et al 2019); ramifications of the emergence of streaming for primary creators’ earnings (Barr et al 2021, Hesmondhalgh et al 2021).

With the benefit of cross-sector panorama, this paper draws on mixed-method approaches to unpack and interrogate emergent findings of these ongoing investigations. In doing so the paper considers the role of policy and regulation in shaping the dynamics in the three areas under study.

Matteo Frigeri

In our project – ‘The Law and Economics of eLending in Europe’ – we focus on the role of digital libraries in promoting digital access to knowledge on a non-commercial basis (e.g., eLending). The forms of eLending that libraries can provide are shaped by the legal framework (e.g., copyright law), and the market.

Copyright embodies a duality: by conferring rights to authors, it limits the liberties of users and the public at large. As libraries transition from lending to digital forms of lending, a new balance needs to be struck between users and rightsholders.

In the printed world, libraries retain a level of independent from the market in so far as lending is often provided on the basis of national lending schemes, set up in derogation to the Public Lending right retained by authors. Despite the CJEU’s attempted to extend such provision to the digital world, eLending markets function considerably differently: licensing agreements regulate what libraries can and cannot do.  This market approach was originally considered warranted by the need to protect the economic viability of the emerging eBook market against the prospect of mass lending of digital books. However, this was subject to an important caveat: that the provision of digital access by “public libraries should not be subject to undue financial or other restrictions”.

Despite a lack of action on this front from the Commission in the past years, it is clear that this ‘market approach’ is not delivering on its initial promises. The interests of libraries are not sufficiently taken into account. Libraries are facing serious obstacles in providing an eLending service, due to the level of control that publishers are able to exercise.

As part of this project, we will assess in which regulatory systems solutions can be found – and there are possible solutions or mitigation of this problem in all three modalities of regulation (copyright, market, and competition law).

30 March

The Regulation Policy Forum – 09.20

This session will be subject to the Chatham House Rule

Professor Éric Brousseau (Université Paris-Dauphine), Ms Kate Davies (Ofcom), Mr Robin Van Mulders (Digital Markets Unit) and Lord Stevenson of Balmacara (House of Lords) will address key issues on the current regulatory agenda, including the Online Safety Bill, a new and broader approach to the regulation of digital markets, and regulatory cooperation.

Panel 6 – 10.45

Platform regulation, Codes of practice and the Ministry of truth

Martin Kretschmer (with Ula Furgał and Philip Schlesinger)

Codes of conduct and Codes of practice play an important role in new regulatory frameworks proposed for online platforms. In effect, private firms devise rules which may then be approved by a regulator, or even a government minister. In earlier drafts of the UK Draft Online Safety Bill, Codes of practice for ‘high-risk, high-reach’ (so-called Category 1) services were required to extend to legal but harmful materials. Under the EU Digital Services Act, the Commission will ‘encourage and facilitate the drawing up of codes of conduct at Union level’, with a focus on tackling ‘different types of illegal content and systemic risks’ (Art. 35).

Codes of practice and Codes of conduct imply ongoing revision and flexibility, which makes them a potentially attractive regulatory tool for fast developing industries and markets. Unlike statutes, codes do not involve a complex legislative procedure, which means that they can be adopted quicker and be more responsive to changing circumstances. However, since naming something a “Code” does not imply any legal form, standing or required level of enforcement, those issues need to be addressed each time.

Codes of practice and Codes of conduct have been used in the UK for over half a century and in a variety of settings. The currently binding codes do not have a stable legal form or common standing. Some may have a statutory basis and impose legal obligations; some offer only guidelines and explanations of statutory obligations, or simply set standards of behaviour within a particular industry or profession. The codes often are the result of a unilateral act by a given body, sometimes requiring approval by another. There are also examples of multilateral agreements.

A Code’s enforcement conditions are often vague, with very limited empirical evidence about incidences, process and results. This is not surprising where Codes are a voluntary tool of self-regulation. Entities or individuals bound by a particular code can be designated in a statute, in the code itself, or adherence might be linked to membership in a professional or industry organisation or be completely voluntary. “Code of practice” appears to be a more common term. It is however not clear how it differs from a “Code of conduct”.

We conducted a legal audit of 20 Codes of conduct and Codes of practice currently valid in the UK, by statutory basis, regulatory status, imposed legal obligations, and enforcement powers. This identified an accelerating use of this regulatory tool, and also a change in legal standing over time.

Borderline practices on Douyin/TikTok: Content Transfer and Algorithmic Manipulation

Chunmeizi Su

TikTok continues to be the top downloaded app in many countries around the world as the short video consumption craze continues. But TikTok has also come under harsh scrutiny for its Chinese origins and data security. For TikTok, the journey of globalization has involved a painful contest with governments, geopolitical manoeuvrers, and, ultimately, finding platform regulation loopholes. TikTok’s sister app, Douyin, shares identical digital architectures, but follows different trajectories of development in China.

To identify unexpected, and in most cases, unjustifiable uses of social media, particularly those occurring on Douyin and TikTok, this paper advances the concept of ‘borderline practices’ to illustrate infringing practices that cross physical and virtual boundaries. Borderline practices are ambiguous or infringing activities facilitated via algorithms and practiced by corporations, platforms, or users, that are both legally and ethically questionable, having the potential of crossing visible and hidden boundaries. Borderline practices, therefore, examine the repurposing of social media use under the periphery of legal and ethical accounts that could transcend national boundaries.

Through interviews with Chinese influencers and media practitioners, along with a content analysis of policy documents and industry reports, this study explored: 1) algorithmic platformization and the way it has been counter-utilized by individuals as well as Multi-Channel Networks (MCNs), such as building fake accounts; 2) how users and MCNs utilize regulatory loopholes to transfer content; and 3) how platforms contribute to the synchronization of monetization models.

Findings suggest that borderline practices enabled by short video platforms are also a result of Douyin and TikTok globalization strategies. For example, TikTok deploys ‘content pools’ to transfer popular content to targeted regions, encouraging users to transfer content on a fundamental level. On top of this, it has created a culture that tolerates transferred content, where more content means more attention, and higher following growth. Additionally, TikTok shares the same algorithm as Douyin, generating issues of homogenous content, and algorithmic manipulation. The overreliance on algorithms, even during global expansions, is attributable to such phenomenon.

Panel 7 – 12.00

Comparative Digital Regulation in the context of G20 countries

Surjasama Lahiri

We propose a comparative study of current regulatory regimes applicable to general data protection in the context of the G-20 countries. There are two novelties that our research contributes to: (i) expanding the scope of similar comparative studies where the primary focus has been restricted to the EU, the UK, Brazil, China, etc. and (ii) propose a framework for this comparison to be based on, something that the related literature desperately needs.

Setting the GDPR as benchmark, our paper constructs a database using a framework that we propose and organises data based on two dimensions. The first dimension is regulatory actions which include the following: (i) regulatory requirements: focusing on data transfers, data records, data protection officers, DPIAs, subject rights, enforcement etc. (ii) regulatory concepts: focusing on legal bases and key definitions of data protection, personal/territorial/material scope of data protection laws etc. The second dimension is institutional contexts, which captures attributes of the actors and regulators responsible for the regulation, specifically information on their jurisdiction, sanctioning power (warnings and civil/criminal/licensing penalties) and supervisory power (independence/accountability/scope of action). Our approach to collecting and codifying information is based on a combination of (i) countries’ legal texts and (ii) legal experts’ reviews on these legal texts. Broadly speaking, we analyse the data sources based on the dimensions (as described above) and connect each aspect of these sources to the framework that we propose i.e., classify the data into dimensions. Then we codify the data based on each attribute of our framework in binary form i.e., whether a particular requirement/concept is present in a country or not.

Based on these dimensions, our database can be used for addressing several questions out of which we presently focus on the following two:

  • How does the G20 countries’ regulation compare with that of the GDPR?
  • Is there a connection between regulation and the regulators, specifically, is regulation impacted by the regulator type?

Given these questions, we now provide a few potential insights of our results. Addressing the first question, from a preliminary perspective our data can be used to measure several aspects, for instance the stringency of each country’s data protection regulation, how strong the enforcement of such regulations are or how each country identifies and defines different aspects of personal data. These can be combined together to visualize the entire scope of data protection regulation and compare each of the G20 countries to the central GDPR. The second question maps how and if regulator types have a connection with the type of regulation. For instance, are regulators that have more “power” responsible for more stringent regulations?

Finally, as a general note for the project, there are two future branches of expansion. The first stems from the robustness of our framework which allows for expansion of analysis of data protection in other sectors including health, financial, automotive etc. The second is a potential linkage of the database with economic/non-economic data (related to the digital domain) and identification of potential further trends and causal effects on: (i) whether the type of regulation is responsible for certain economic outcomes? (ii) if regulation type is responsible for digital innovation?

Regulating the power of platforms: how the times are changing in competition policy

Magali Eben

Competition laws are worded broadly, leaving plenty of room for interpretation by the authorities and courts which enforce them. Ever since its inception, competition policy has been the subject of debate: What are the goals of competition law and competition policy? Is intervention in the market likely to lead to better or worse outcomes in the long run? Should we be concerned with the existence of market power or with its (ab)use, and whose interests are we protecting in the process? The fervour of the debates around these questions seems to increase and decrease with changes in our socio-economic and technological landscape. Any answers which appeared settled in the past may come under scrutiny again in the future.

The digital, ecological, and financial changes in the last decades have spurred legislators into action around the globe. The Digital Markets Act is but one of several new regulations and reforms around the world which may challenge our current understanding of competition policy. These reforms are concerned with more than the achievement of efficient markets, incorporating limits on the exercise of relational power, promoting ‘fairness’ in commercial relationships, or striving to ensure the access by smaller companies to downstream markets. Economic democracy concerns are apparent: a mistrust of private economic power (at least as represented by Big Tech) permeates public opinion.

In this process, a new approach seems to have emerged to the existence and use of economic power. Until recently, competition law was said to be concerned with the harm caused by the use of market power. Market power creates the potential for competitive harm.  Monopolies can create losses to society which would not have occurred in the absence of significant market power. Indeed, both the EU and the US antitrust provisions on unilateral conduct only apply when there is a significant degree of market power. The assumption is that, but for market power, the harmful effects of the practice could not have occurred. Moreover, since the late 90s (if not earlier), this harm has been construed in a specific economic sense:  as inefficiencies, deadweight loss, wealth transfers, and lost investment incentives. With the advent of new regulations, new proposals, and new competition law standards, the way we look at economic power and the harm it causes is changing. This piece puts these changes in their historical context and asks what they might tell us about the future of competition policy.

Panel 8 – 14.00

Digital Transformation and Public Service Media: The Case of Ireland

Gillian Doyle

PSM organisations across the globe have had to weather major disruptive forces in recent years. Changes in distribution technologies have altered the economics of the television industry, fuelling consolidation and the rise of big tech platforms (Biggam, 2020; Doyle, Paterson and Barr, 2021; Ofcom, 2022; Poell, Nieborg and Duffy, 2022). The way we watch television has changed and, as audiences fragment and levels of distrust in social institutions rise, and in the face of growing competition from subscription video on demand services (SVoDs) such as Netflix and Disney+, PSM organisations have struggled to engage audiences – especially younger audiences (Johnson, 2019; Lobato, 2019). In addition, many PSM organisations have faced serious financial pressures stemming, for example, from reductions in levels of television advertising and/or diminished levels of public funding (2020).

These challenges bear heavily on PSM in Ireland where, because of historic reliance on a dual funding system involving a licence fee plus advertising (O’ Hagan and Jennings, 2003), recent funding pressures have been acute (Ramsey, 2018; Mediatique, 2019). Against this background, and in the face of recurrent expressions of concern about the state of RTÉ’s finances and about challenges facing media in Ireland more generally, an independent body – the Future of Media Commission (FOMC) – was set up by the Irish Government in 2020 in order to, in the words of Taoiseach Micheál Martin (cited in GPO, 2020):

‘… chart a pathway for public service broadcasting and independent media into the future… [and] examine how public service objectives can be funded in a way that is sustainable, ensures independent editorial oversight and delivers value for money to the public…’

Drawing on author’s experience as a member of the FOMC, this contribution considers how digital transformation is affecting PSM and – bearing in mind that how exactly PSM delivers societal value is a key point of reference in relation to the question of it should be funded (Donders and Raats, 2015; Lowe and Berg, 2013) – it asks to what extent PSM continues to deliver benefits that are valued by society. PSM funding options are considered and, in the wake of publication of the FOMC Report (FOMC, 2022) and a related Implementation Plan (DTCAGSM, 2023), reflections are offered on the process of media and cultural policy-making in Ireland.

Breaking out in tiers – exempting news publishers from content moderation

Stefan Luca

Calls for a regulated media exception from platform content moderation go back to the drafting of the EU Digital Services Act and re-emerge in both the European Media Freedom Act and the UK’s Online Safety Bill. This paper argues that such media exceptions can be conceptualised as a form of platform tiered governance, first described in the context of YouTube as the application of different rules to different users (Caplan & Gillespie, 2020). Regulated media exemptions belong on a spectrum of tiering practices including platform-driven whitelists and collaborative efforts to set up journalism credibility initiatives. All focus on actors rather than content (François, 2019), which promises to reduce complexity.

Unilateral platform tiering has come under renewed scrutiny following Frances Haugen’s whistle-blower disclosures regarding Facebook’s X-check program, an effort to avoid bad publicity by essentially exempting significant numbers of public figures from the vagaries of its error-prone moderation practices. Criticisms range from the misalignment between platforms’ internal motivations and public interests, the potential for undue influence and a general lack of accountability, even when private and public interests ostensibly align (e.g. Facebook’s fiddling with its News Ecosystem Quality Index (NEQI) around the 2020 US elections (Statt, 2020)).

Journalism credibility initiatives (e.g. NewsGuard, the Trust Project, the Journalism Trust Initiative, with whom I have conducted participatory observation between 2018-2020) aim to translate journalism standards into platform tiering criteria. They propose that platforms yield some control over algorithmic content curation in exchange for journalistic legitimacy lent to the platforms’ anti-disinformation efforts. There are more general calls to formalise tiers of trusted content creators underpinned by associative structures (Husovec, 2022) and tentative steps in this direction, such as YouTube recognising registered nurses.

Calls for regulatory media exceptions aim for platforms recognising news publishers as a distinct tier, rather than making their own selection. The evolution of the DSA and EMFA drafts shows how this approach clashes with competing goals of platform regulation, such as systemic risk management, while also threatening media independence.

Examining the spectrum of tiering practices regarding news, this paper has three aims. First to clarify their scope, from the removal of illegal or merely objectionable content, through account suspensions, to preferential curation treatment, as moderation moves away from removals to visibility management (Gillespie, 2022). Second, to disentangle the substantive and procedural dimensions of tiering. Third, to examine alternative arrangements for a governance of tiering.


Dr Kenneth Barr, University of Glasgow

Kenny Barr is a Research Associate who has been involved with CREATe as a doctoral and postdoctoral researcher throughout the centre’s 10-year history. Prior to CREATe he worked as a live music tour manager. He researches how copyright shapes commercial and creative decision-making in music television production, and most recently e-lending in Europe.

Professor Raymond Boyle, University of Glasgow

Raymond Boyle is Professor of Communications and the Director of the Centre for Cultural Policy Research. He researched the UK television industry, the UK Film Council, media rights and sport, sports journalism and social media usage, and the relation between talent agents and the UK television industry. He is writing a book on Streaming, Formula 1 and the Media.

Professor Dauvit Broun, University of Glasgow

Dauvit Broun is Professor of Scottish History. An expert in medieval history, his work has focused on culture, politics and nationhood and has explored uses of non-textual methods in historiography. He is a former director of ArtsLab in the College of Arts and has fostered research in the arts and humanities.

Professor Eric Brousseau, Université Paris-Dauphine

Éric Brousseau is professor at the Université Paris-Dauphine and specialises in management research. He directs the Fondation Paris-Dauphine’s Chair in Governance and Regulation and leads the associated Regulator’s Club.

Professor Sarah Cook, University of Glasgow

Sarah Cook is Professor of Museum Studies in Information Studies at the University of Glasgow and Lead for the ARC ‘Creative Economies and Cultural Transformations’ Theme.

Kate Davies, Ofcom

Kate Davies is Public Policy Director, supporting Ofcom’s work across the communications and media sectors, and engaging with policy makers across the UK. Kate also oversees Ofcom’s work in the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum. Previously Kate was Director of Strategy and Policy at Ofcom for 3 years. Prior to joining Ofcom Kate worked in a range of roles in HM Treasury, the Department for Work and Pensions, and the third sector.

Professor Gillian Doyle, University of Glasgow

Gillian Doyle is Professor of Media Economics. Her interests encompass the economics of mass media, media and cultural policy. Currently, she is Principal Investigator on the ‘PSM and the Digital Challenge: Purpose, Value and Funding’ project (2023-). She was presented with the Journal of Media Economics Honour Award 2021.

Dr Magali Eben, University of Glasgow

Magali Eben is a Lecturer in Competition Law. She is CREATe’s Competition Lead and co-director. Her research addresses the intricacies of market definition for online services and is currently focusing on app stores and cloud gaming.

Dr Kristofer Erickson, University of Leeds

Kris Erikson will be joining the University of Glasgow as a Professor of Social Science in May. He researches the law and social norms regulating online interactions, mainly through quantitative assessments of the impact of policy changes on online communities, such as YouTube video makers, Wikimedia contributors and independent creative firms.

Prof. Terry Flew, University of Sydney

Terry Flew is Professor of Digital Communication & Culture, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. He is the author of numerous books, including Regulating Platforms. SAGE Handbook of the Digital Media EconomyUnderstanding Global MediaPolitics, Media and Democracy in AustraliaMedia Economics and Global Creative Industries. In 2019, he was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities.

Matteo Frigeri, University of Glasgow

Matteo Frigeri is currently a researcher at CREATe, working on a one-year project – “The Law and Economics of e-Lending in Europe” – funded by the Knowledge Rights 21/Arcadia. Before joining CREATe as a full-time researcher, he spent more than two years working as a Copyright Coordinator at Christie’s auction house (London).

Dr Ula Furgal, University of Glasgow

Ula Furgal is Lecturer in Intellectual Property and Information Law. Having joined CREATe in November 2019, Ula works on the regulation of platform economy in the context of creative industries, the Reversion Rights Project, and focuses on the new press publishers’ right in the EU copyright framework.

Dr Joanne Gray, University of Sydney

Joanne Gray is Lecturer in Digital Cultures in the Discipline of Media and Communications, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences. Her research seeks to understand how digital platforms, such as Google/Alphabet and Facebook/Meta, exercise private power and explore relevant policy options. Her recent work includes Google Rules: The History and Future of Copyright Under the Influence of Google, Oxford University Press (2020).

Professor John Hartley, University of Sydney

John Hartley is a research professor in the Discipline of Media and Communications. Having pioneered the study of television from a cultural point of view, his subsequent publications focused on the role of commercial and entertainment media in forming publics, consumer-created content, DIY culture and digital storytelling. His latest works address the shifts from national to global cultures, analogue to digital technologies, and individualist to systems thinking. In 2009, he was awarded the Order of Australia.

Dr Jonathon Hutchinson, University of Sydney

Jonathon Hutchinson is lecturer in Online Communication and Media. He is currently a Visiting Research Fellow on the Algorithmed Public Sphere project at the Hans Bredow Institute, Hamburg Germany. His research explores Public Service Media, cultural intermediation, everyday social media, automated media, and algorithms in media.

Professor Martin Kretschmer, University of Glasgow

Martin Kretschmer is Professor of Intellectual Property Law. He is also the founder and Director of CREATe, an interdisciplinary research centre established in 2012 jointly by AHRC, EPSRC and ESRC. His expertise is in the empirical analysis of intellectual property and information law. His current research focus is the neo-regulation of digital platforms.

Dr Surjasama Lahiri, Paris Dauphine University

Surjasama Lahiri is postdoctoral researcher with interests in industrial organization, experimental economics and applied game theory. In 2021 he completed his Ph.D. in Economics at Deakin University, Australia. His current work focuses on comparative approaches to platform regulation.

Stefan Luca, University of Glasgow

Stefan joined CREATe in November 2022 as a postdoctoral researcher in platform regulation. His PhD research explored regulatory responses to online misinformation from a deliberative democracy perspective. He continues to focus on the intersection of platforms, news and political speech.

Robin Van Mulders, Competition and Markets Authority

Robin Van Mulders is a Principal Adviser working in the newly established Digital Markets Unit (set up in shadow form within the CMA). He is currently responsible for the CMA’s engagement with the Digital Regulation Cooperation Forum and has over the last four years worked within CMA teams on a range of matters relating to online advertising and the interaction between competition and data protection policy.

Professor Kate Oakley, University of Glasgow

Kate Oakley is Professor of Cultural Policy. Her research is in the broad area of cultural industries and the cultural economy. She has published widely in cultural policy, changes in cultural labour and sustainable prosperity.

Professor Graeme Roy, University of Glasgow

Graeme Roy is Professor in Economics and Dean of External Engagement in the College of Social Sciences. He is responsible for the College’s £1.25m ESRC Impact Acceleration Account. His research focus is on economic policy and devolution; he is a regular commentator and public speaker on the Scottish economy.

Professor Michael Russell, University of Glasgow

Michael Russell is Professor in Scottish Culture and Governance. He is President of the Scottish National Party and its Interim Chief Executive and has served as Scotland’s  minister for culture and cabinet secretary for education.

Professor Philip Schlesinger, University of Glasgow

Philip Schlesinger is Professor in Cultural Theory and Deputy Director of CREATe. He is presently researching the neo-regulation of internet platforms in the ‘post-public sphere’ with a focus on the uses of expertise and power. He has published widely on the political sociology of media and culture.

Dr Melanie Selfe, University of Glasgow, CCPR

Melanie Selfe is Lecturer in Cultural Policy. Her work centres on the organisations, infrastructure, policies and information networks that enable access to and participation within the cultural and creative sphere. Key interests include geographic variations in creative sector policy and practice; and the role of amateur and professional status in the production, consumption and criticism of the arts.

Dr Inge Sorensen, University of Glasgow

Inge Sorensen is Lecturer in Media Policy. She researches the practices, policies and political economy of national and global screen industries, with particular focus on Public Service Media, streamers, screen agencies and funding models.  She worked for a decade as an award-winning producer and development producer of TV and fiction.

Lord (Wilf) Stevenson has been a Labour Party life peer since 2010. He was Director of the British Film Institute. He was also Director of the Smith Institute, a social-democratic think tank, and a senior adviser to Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown. He has been a member of the Draft Online Safety Bill (Joint Committee) of the UK Parliament since July 2021, and since February 2023 has been Shadow Spokesperson for Science, Innovation and Technology.

Milica Stilinovic, University of Sydney

Milly Stilinovic’s PhD research focuses on the communication of violence and the language of violent acts. She lectures in media politics. She is the Managing Editor of Policy and Internet, as well as an author and journalist.

Dr Chunmeizi Su, University of Sydney

Meizi Su is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Discipline of Media and Communications. She researches the Digital Entertainment Industry in China and beyond. She is currently working in the Australian Research Council project ‘Platform Governance: Rethinking Platform Regulation as Media Policy’, and in another joint project with the Communication University of China (CUC), ‘Trust and Communication: A Systematic Literature Review and Future Research Directions’.

Dr Amy Thomas, University of Glasgow

Amy Thomas is Lecturer in Intellectual Property and Information Law. Her 2022 PhD thesis employed socio-legal methods to conceptualise the copyright user through an analysis of end user licensing agreements. Amy is also interested in copyright-related aspects of user communities, video gaming and eSports. She is managing editor of the Copyright Evidence Wiki, which catalogues empirical evidence relating to copyright.

Dr Lynn Whitaker, University of Glasgow

Lynn Whitaker is Lecturer in Cultural Policy and Creative Industries. She is interested in the children’s media production industry, focusing most recently on understanding and regulating children’s ‘in-app’ purchasing.

Ayse Gizem Yasar, University of Glasgow

Ayse Gizem is a postdoctoral researcher on platform regulation. Her research focuses on law, innovation and technological change. At Sciences Po Law School, her PhD interrogates fundamental contradictions in competition policy through the lens of disruptive innovation. At CREATe, she is part of projects on the changing dynamics of the gaming industry and its regulation, and platform regulation in general. Between 2013-2016, she worked as a competition lawyer.