Mapping the Digital Frontiers of Trade and Intellectual Property

GCIG Research Volume Three

May 8, 2017

One of the most powerful and consequential intersections between the multi-trillion-dollar digital economy and Internet governance revolves around intellectual property (IP). The digitization of major industries — music, movies, games, journalism — has created unprecedented IP challenges. It is technologically simple, and cheap, to copy and distribute products that used to necessitate the purchase of a physical medium. The Internet is also used to sell counterfeit products, creating new challenges for patent and trademark holders.

In turn, the infrastructures and institutions of the Internet are being called upon to block access to pirated and counterfeit goods. Law enforcement functions once carried out by the state have shifted to the private companies that serve as the conduits and the content intermediaries over which information flows.

As well, IP rights are embedded within the technological systems underlying the Internet, such as trademarks in domain names, patents embedded in standards and algorithms protected as trade secrets. Some of the most intractable problems at the intersection of Internet governance and trade are questions of jurisdiction and the role of traditional international organizations.

This research volume brings together global scholars to examine the implications of the evolving geopolitics of digital trade and property and to recommend solutions for promoting a stable system of global governance.

To read the Global Commission on Internet Governance's additional research volumes, please visit: 

Part of Series

GCIG Research Volumes

Written to engage the non-expert netizen as well as other scholars, this six-volume body of work represents the largest set of research materials on internet governance to be currently available from any one source.

About the Author

A two-year initiative to articulate and advance a strategic vision for the future of internet governance.