Online Intermediaries Research Project

Simon CockellPhoto: Simon Cockell (CC BY 2.0)


The Network’s Online Intermediaries project is a policy-oriented research initiative aimed at examining the rapidly changing landscape of online intermediary governance at the intersection of law, technology, norms, and markets. In concert with other research projects, it seeks to develop criteria, comparative methods, and a shared data repository, and to compile insights and lessons learned across diverse communities of knowledge aimed at informing and improving Internet policy-making globally.

The first research output as part of the larger initiative consists of a case study series exploring online intermediary liability frameworks and issues in Brazil, the European Union, India, South Korea, the United States, Thailand, Turkey, and Vietnam, and a synthesis paper that seeks to distill key observations and provide a high-level analysis of some of the structural elements that characterize varying governance frameworks, with a focus on intermediary liability regimes and their evolution. This research builds upon a series of in-person working meetings, including a workshop hosted by the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, where the draft country reports and key elements of the synthesis were discussed. Throughout the process, learning calls supported the sharing of research and methods among the collaborators.


"Online Intermediaries in India" by Chinmayi Arun and Sarvjeet Singh [National Law University, Delhi]
This case study maps and analyzes online intermediary liability in India by describing the landscape, highlighting intermediaries of special interest such a platforms used to arrange marriages, mapping the online intermediary governance mechanisms, and assessing the impact of the governance framework.

Roles and Liabilities of Online Intermediaries in Vietnam – Regulations in the Mixture of Hope and Fear by Thuy Nguyen
This essay studies the policy and regulatory framework affecting the liability of online intermediaries in Vietnam by exploring how the liability of online intermediaries is shaped by the local authority’s ideology, concerns, and hopes, as well as other political and economic factors regarding the information, communications, and technology sector.

"Internet Intermediary Liability in Thailand" by Pirongrong Ramasoota [Thai Media Policy Centre, Faculty of Communication Arts, Chulalongkorn University]
This paper discusses the instability of the Thai government and society, and how this affects the implementation and creation of laws and policies relevant to Internet intermediaries. The paper discusses related laws and cases, along with primary survey data from Internet intermediaries.

Intermediary Liability - Not Just Backward but Going Back by Kyung-Sin (K.S.) Park [Korea University Law School]
This paper provides an analysis of the Korean “Act Regarding Promotion of Use of Information Communication Networks and Protection of Information” that governs intermediary liability in Korea for defamatory or otherwise rights-infringing contents. This paper asserts Article 44, 2, which should have created protection from liability like other intermediary liability regimes around the world, has instead become an affirmative way to impose intermediary liability.

Intermediary Liability in the United States by Chris Bavitz, Jeff Hermes, Andy Sellars, Ryan Budish, Michael Lambert, and Nick Decoster [Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University]
This paper describes and assesses the intermediary liability landscape in the United States, providing an overview of major US legal regimes that protect online intermediaries from liability for user content. It then offers a series of case studies describing ways in which US-based companies and other organizations have structured their operations in compliance with and in response to US law.

Brazilian Courts and the Internet – Rulings Before and After the Marco Civil on Intermediary Liability by Carlos Affonso Souza and Ronaldo Lemos [Institute for Technology & Society, Rio de Janeiro State University]
This report focus on the current state of the discussion in Brazil, analyzing solutions created by a decade of judicial decisions on the topic of online intermediaries’ liability and the newly established regulatory framework as set forth in the so-called Marco Civil.

European Union & Google Spain by Aleksandra Kuczerawy and Jef Ausloos [Interdisciplinary Centre for Law & ICT (ICRI), KU Leuven]
This paper provides an overview of the legal framework governing the liability of Internet intermediaries in the European Union (EU) with a focus on the E-Commerce Directive, analyzing the Google Spain ruling as an example for evaluating the interaction between the intermediary liability regime and data protection law.

Turkey (eBay Case) by Nilay Erdem and Yasin Beceni [BTS & Partners]
This paper provides an analysis and evaluation of the situation for online intermediaries in Turkey, with a focus on the problems faced by eBay after it acquired, which was operating with a similar business model in Turkey.