Edinburgh Research Explorer

Information, Law and Society

Research output: Working paper

Original languageEnglish
PublisherUniversity of Edinburgh, School of Law, Working Papers
Number of pages52
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 27 Jan 2014

Publication series

NameEdinburgh Law School Working Papers Series
No.2014/05

Abstract

While the information law framework encompasses information which relates to the private and the public, the commercial and the personal, the government and privately (self) regulated, this article focuses on aspects of the information environment relevant to the commercial and quasi-commercial sector, and to that surrounding government. it analyses seven case studies from these areas of activity. When considering whether the legal framework helps or hinders these enterprises in their endeavours, pressing issues emerge. Much hope is placed on the success of digital industries and their capacity to revive the economy. The key question to be addressed therefore is whether we have the optimum legal framework for the information environment within the public, quasi-public and private sectors. By optimum, we mean a legal framework that supports the fullest possible exploitation of digital technology and its possibilities for the benefit of society, and that is itself broadly accepted within society. We conclude that the optimum legal framework may be a problem without a final solution; but this does not mean that it should be ignored and participants left to muddle along as best they can in a difficult world. It behoves the law-maker to keep trying for laws that work and are reasonably well-respected by those most directly affected. Part of that effort, it is suggested, should be given over, where appropriate, to looking at the law in the round or as a whole, and seeking to give it coherence wherever possible. It is a reproach to the law if those subject to it perceive it to be self-contradictory: for example, to mandate access to and re-use of public information, but to require paid-for consent before it can be published. Even worse where a law the principles of which seem entirely appropriate in a liberal democracy, such as data protection, freedom of information and re-use of public sector information, is seen by those who hold the information primarily as a burden on rather than a natural part of their working lives.

    Research areas

  • Intellectual property, Digital environment, Copyright, Database right, Confidential information, Data protection, Freedom of information, Contract

ID: 16555310