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Global Media and Communications Watch

The International Legal Blog for the Tech, Media and Telecoms Industry

Posted in Internet, Policy & Regulation, Technology Christine Gateau

Overcoming IoT litigation challenges: Will regulatory developments in the EU influence the design of connected devices?

How large is the market for the Internet of Things (IoT)? In 2017, the number of IoT products in use was about 8.4 billion. That’s a massive number, and a 31 percent increase over the previous year. And the market continues to grow exponentially; connected products are now found in virtually every area of our lives. So are regulations keeping pace?

In this hoganlovells.com interview, Christine Gateau, a partner at Hogan Lovells in Paris, explores IoT regulatory developments in the EU and their impact on litigation, explains provisions of the Product Liability Directive (PLD), and suggests areas where IoT product litigation risks could be reduced. Continue Reading

Posted in Copyright, Technology

IP in the mix: European Parliament adopts resolution on DLTs & blockchains

The European Parliament has adopted a non-legislative resolution on distributed ledger technologies (DLTs) and blockchains. In the resolution, which was adopted last month, the Parliament emphasised that the EU has an opportunity to become “the global leader” in the field of DLT and to be a “credible actor” in shaping its development and markets globally. The resolution discusses potential benefits of DLT/blockchain in a range of sectors, including copyright, patent and data protection (alongside financial services, healthcare, transport, supply chain, education and energy). Continue Reading

Posted in Policy & Regulation Yvonne DraheimSabrina Dücker

When 3D-printing challenges IP rights

3D-printing changes the way we develop products: an idea can be transformed into a tangible product faster than ever and it is not even expensive anymore.

But what is 3D-printing? Simply put, it is a machine that builds an object out of base materials bu successively stacking thin layers of the material in accordance with a Computer-Aided Design (CAD). The major advantage over conventional moulding processes is its adaptability: one 3D printer can print any template and does not require prefabricated moulds. the template can be created by using a CAD program or by using special 3D scanners if the object already exists. Continue Reading

Posted in Policy & Regulation

DSM Copyright Directive: a new leak reveals there is still a long way to go

The provisions of the Copyright Directive (COM(2016)593) are currently being discussed between the Council, the Parliament and the Commission in order to reach a compromise wording. Though these talks are generally strictly confidential, some working documents occassionally find their way out. Here is a summary of the lesons we can learn from the latest document that has leaked.

The story so far

After months of tense debates, both the Council and the Parliament could each find a majority on the wording of the draft directive (read our blog posts here and here). the current stage of the process, as we reported, is the interinstitutional negotiations or so-called trilogue, which takes place behind closed doors between representatives of the Parliament and the Council, with the Commission intervening in a mediating role. Continue Reading

Posted in Policy & Regulation Ari FitzgeraldSarah K. Leggin

2018: A Space Odyssey – FCC and NASA Herald New Era of Market Friendly Space Policies

On November 8, 2018, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai highlighted the agency’s jam-packed agenda on space and satellite regulation at the Hudson Institute’s “Space 2.0” event in Washington, D.C. In his remarks, he discussed the FCC’s renewed focus on space and satellite policy, and its efforts to promote innovative, commercial technologies through a market-based approach. Thomas E. Cremins, NASA’s Associate Administrator for Strategy and Plans, gave opening remarks and joined Chairman Pai to highlight the interagency cooperation to promote investment and continue U.S. leadership in space. Former FCC Commissioner Harold Furchtgott-Roth, Director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for the Economics of the Internet, moderated the panel discussion. Continue Reading

Posted in Technology, Telecoms & Broadband Ari FitzgeraldSarah K. Leggin

New Discoveries from Galileo? FCC Grants non-Federal Access to Revolutionary European Satellite

At its Open Meeting on November 15, the FCC approved a draft Order that grants in part the European Commission’s (EC) long-pending request for waivers of certain FCC licensing requirements to permit non-Federal U.S. receive-only earth stations to operate with specific signals of the Galileo satellite system (Galileo) without having to obtain an FCC license or grant of US market access.  Galileo was developed by the European Union and consists of a number of satellites operating in the radionavigation-satellite service (RNSS), similar to the U.S. Global Positioning System (GPS).  The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recommended grant of the requested waivers, and the FCC’s International Bureau issued a Public Notice seeking comment on the potential benefits and technical issues associated with the waiver request.  The FCC granted the EC waiver request for operations with the Galileo E1 signal (1559-1591 MHz) and E5 signal (1164-1219 MHz), but denied the request for operations with the E6 signal (1260-1300 MHz).  Continue Reading

Posted in Technology Peter Watts

Big deals, big ideas, and big challenges spur TMT activity

This interview with Peter Watts takes a look into how intense innovation, diverse deal structures, and political protectionism are changing the face of M&A in the technology, media and telecommunications space. Peter focusses on the following questions:

  • What are the main drivers for cross-border deals at the moment?
  • What do you think has been the most intesresting deal of Q3, and why?
  • With innovation as a major driver of deals, do you feel that M&A is the best way for companies to nurture that kind of innovative spirit?
  • Does the drive for innovation differ across other sub-sectors?
  • What are the major challenges to M&A in the sector?
  • As we move towards 2019. what advice do you have for companies looking to do deals in the sector?

Access the full interview on our Deal Dynamics Market Insights resource here

For more analysis, visit Deal Dynamics our powerful interactive data tool with exclusive editorial content providing analysis and insights on cross-border M&A


Posted in Artificial Intelligence, Data Protection & Privacy Jason Lohr

Legal landmines lie in wait for machine learning applications

An ever increasing variety of companies are incorporating machine learning into their products and services. Machine learning provides the ability to quickly and accurately perform, in parellel, a large number of well-defined tasks. The accuracy will improveover time as additional data is obtaied and the machine learning model continues to “learn”. Many companies, however, are struggling with the best way to protect machine learning and artificial intelligence innovation.

In amchine learning, statistical models (ie, neural networks) are trained using a set of classified data. Once trained, the model can analyse unclassified data, such as images representing unidentified objects, and classify or generate observations for the data. A significant issue slowing widespread adopetion of machine learning is the inability to acess or determine the internal relationships or mechanisms y which machine learning generates these observations. Information about the initla configuration and training might be known, but trained models cannot “explain” in easily understandable terms how specific decisions were made. Continue Reading

Posted in Policy & Regulation Tony Lin

NOAA Hosts First Ever Interagency Satellite Workshop

In October, the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) brought together NOAA licensees and prospective licensees and representatives from across the federal government for a workshop on U.S. satellite licensing and compliance regulations. The first of its kind, this three-day event was designed to promote transparency and awareness about government processes and to improve engagement with regulators. The event received widespread support from senior government officials and was well attended by industry.

Continue Reading

Posted in Policy & Regulation

UK leads the digital tax charge (again)

After much speculation, UK Chancellor Philip Hammond announced today in his annual budget speech that the UK will introduce a Digital Services Tax (DST) with effect from April 2020. In doing so, the UK has followed the example set with its Diverted Profits Tax by taking unilateral action first, and pre-empting possible EU and OECD proposals for a similar measure. This is despite stern criticism from the US Treasury and various quarters in business.

The new tax will be applied at a rate of 2% to UK revenues derived from search engines, social media platforms, and online marketplaces. It will hit all groups with global revenue derived from these sources in excess of £500m per year, but make a number of concessions, presumably to address concerns raised widely (including in this blog)about its effect on innovation, start-ups and competition. Loss-makers will be exempt, and measures introduced to reduce the effect on very low margin business. There will also be a (presumably tax free) annual allowance of £25 million.

Curiously, the proposals appear not to catch ordinary online business, or content providers. However, as with the Diverted Profits Tax, the devil will be in the final detail. The UK government will consult before legislating, and notes its commitment to G20 and OECD discussions about wider reforms to the international tax system. As such, the new tax  is temporary. It was the same with income tax in 1842.

Whilst the announcement will, no doubt, be applauded and criticised in equal measure, the UK Government does appear to have listened to (some) concerns. It is also proposed at a lower rate than the 3% originally mooted, or the 5% rate that the European Parliament would like. Whether it puts pressure on the EU to follow suit is a good question, but it will no doubt raise hackles in the US. It might even be a bargaining chip in post-Brexit trade talks.