Information, culture and knowledge: new citizen practices, new public policies. A case comparison between Spain and the United States (Sinde Law versus SOPA Law).
Timeframe: January 2013 to January 2015.
Funding entity : Call 2012 of the National Program of Fundamental Research of the VI National Plan I+D+i. Spain
The research is based on political considerations – new thematic conflicts linked to the political agenda and public debate – and on the search for modes of interaction between citizens, civil society and political institutions that can address the challenges of a networked knowledge-based society.
The project addresses the emerging free culture movement (Free Culture Movement (FCM)), regulation of intellectual property and privacy issues on the Internet. It seeks to understand how contextual factors shape the FCM to determine their organizational logic and interaction with political institutions in shaping public policy.
This research aims to fill gaps connecting several research areas:
– Expand public policy analysis to new areas of digital law, digital economy, organizational theory, theories of social movements, sociology, and political science in general.
-Incorporate an analytical dimension to the socio-political analysis of the free culture developed in the fields of cyberlaw and organizational studies.
Methodologically, it aims to go beyond the current literature, mainly based on single case studies to adopt a comparative approach – comparing various national cases acroos the time and focusing on how contextual attributes contribute to shaping the civil society.
It will also explore how social movements implement the ‘transmedia mobilization (Costanza – Chock, 2011), the set of tools and practices used by movement actors to spread their ideas across multiple platforms (social networks, search engines, microblogging services, news, or web pages, among others).
In a comparative perspective, the objective of the project is to develop a description and an understanding of the conditions and mechanisms that link civil society with the process of policy making in political debates on the Internet.
More specifically, this research seeks to provide scientific evidence about the movement has recently been mobilized against regulating access and information management, culture and knowledge, as well as evaluating the responses politicians, the promoters of public policies, are giving to this new source of social conflict.
The central objective of this research is to comparatively analyze emerging practices of dissemination of information and cultural development of citizens as they arise in the theorization and the practices of the FCM, and approaches that are present in this movement in terms of their interaction with political institutions in policy formulation.
The FCM practices will be analyzed from the point of view of their form, their composition, their networking capacity, the creation of transmedia strategies, aimed at policy makers. The research aims to explain:
– How those views and practices present in the FCM are shaped by the attributes of the context of political expediency.
– How information technology and communication are transforming the mode of interaction between citizens and civil society and political institutions in policy formulation.
Two attributes will be taken into account: the styles of policy-making, where the project will distinguish between the style of consensus- characterized by the construction of open and inclusive relations between state and civil society- and the imposition style- defined just to act in the opposite way to the previous one and the major transformation and the crisis copyright law related to the emergence of business models based on copyleft.
The main empirical approach is a case comparison of recent policy making processes:
In Spain (framed in the European Union context: Law Sinde, Lasalle Law, the Criminal Code Amendment Act (which toughens measures against attacks to intellectual property).
In the United States (SOPA and PIPA laws).
From the empirical point of view, the main novelty is the development of an interdisciplinary approach to compare how the debate developed on different platforms and channels.
This method will combine mapping controversies raised on the Internet (to identify the network), using data mining techniques across multiple platforms, social network analysis and content analysis. Thus the results of this work will be the product of a triangulation between on-line semi-structured interviews and questionnaires targeting key political actors at local, regional and national levels.
Three lines of impact are expected:
– impact in terms of contributing to better governance and policy making in new social practices
– impact adding value to the state of the art in social sciences;
– and the potential of acquiring competencies and formulate new methodologies of mapping public controversies on the Internet.
Based in Barcelona and hosted by the Institute of Govern and Public Policies (Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona)
Dr. Mayo Fuster with a long expertise about digital commons and social movements on the Web.
Dr. Jorge L Salcedo as a research assistant, he developed his research about media visibility of policy actors in the controversy about Ley Sinde in Spain and Digital Economy Act in UK .
With the support of all the members of IGOPNET and the external advice of Asociacion Amical Viquipedia (Catalonia) and Peer to Peer Foundation (International).
Based in Cambridge (Boston, USA) with the support of the Berkman center of Internet and Society – Harvard University.
Prof. Dr. Yochai Benkler (Harvard School of Law professor and co-director of the Berkman center for internet and Society – Harvard University) is a worldwide leading scholar in the area with a track record of almost 15 years research on intellectual property, social cooperation and Internet.
Prof. Dr. Sasha Constanza (Comparative Media Studies – Massachusetts Institute of Technology and fellow of Berkman center for Internet and Society – Harvard University) is an expert in social movements, technology and transmedia mobilization.