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VI International Conference "Law in the Digital Era"

On 24-25 October 2016 the sixth International Conference "Law in the Digital Era" was held. It was devoted to evolution of legal institutions in terms of technological development. The Conference was organized by the International Laboratory for Information Technology and Intellectual Property Law.  As before, leading specialists in the field of IT and IP law, both practitioners and researchers, participtaed in the conference this year. Among foreign participants there were visitors from UK, France, Belgium and other countries.

The Сonference this year was dedicated not only to traditional issues, such as the protection of personal data, copyright and related rights on the Internet, competition law in the new economy. The participants also discussed legal aspects of the development of artificial intelligence, introduction of the telemedicine technologies and dissemination of the blokchain technology.

Careful attention was given to the report by Anna Cantero, an associate member of the Interdisciplinary Research Centre " Droit, Enterprise et Société " at the Catholic University of Leuven. She presented a review of current trends of the development of EU IT law. In the light of the adoption of recent regulations and directives, particular attention was paid to electronic identification and certificate authorities, cyber-security and protection of personal data.

Together with the reports from other participants Anna's presentation was seen in comparative aspect with IT law in Russia: Lyudmila Tereschenko, Deputy Head of the Department of administrative law and process, Institute of Legislation and Comparative Law under the RF Government, presented an overview of the trends of ICT law development in Russia in the historical aspect, and Head of the sector for Information Law, State and Law Institute of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Tatyana Polyakova elaborated on the most important issues of personal data protection in Russia.

Internet Ombudsman, Member of the Advisory Council "Agency for Strategic Initiatives" Dmitry Marinichev presented a review on the trends and risks of business development on the Internet. In his opinion, today there is a gap between the real economic conditions and the level of public administration of the new economy. Legal advice, legal terminology, tools and techniques of legal influence on social relations need rethinking and modification in order to ensure adequate regulation of the digital environment, and not to create unnecessary barriers for the implementation of high-tech business initiatives.

The participants had a very controversial opinion regarding the question of the role of law and lawyers in the era of cognitive computing development, which was raised in the speech of Oleg Byakhov, Director of Business Development, IBM Russia/CIS. Modern technology of artificial intelligence is already able to carry out a significant proportion of "intellectual" work, and in the near future they will be able to displace some professions or, at least, seriously change their functions. Lawyers are also at "risk", as most of their analytical work, according to the speaker, may be well delegated to intelligent machines.

Another equally controversial issue of personal data commercialization was raised by a senior researcher of the Laboratory for IT and IP Law Alexander Savelyev in the report, entitled “Commercialization of personal data in Digital Era: Pro and Cons". He noted that today personal data is an important economic asset which value in the foreseeable future will only increase. At the same time, the legal model for the protection of personal data is not sufficiently in line with current economic and technological conditions. The solution to the problem can be found in the change of regulation of personal data processing from predominantly public-law sphere to the private law area.

Within the framework of the Conference sessions there were reports of representatives of HSE—Skolkovo Institute for Law and Development about antitrust regulation in the digital market, the application of competition law to the implementation of intellectual property rights. Over the last few years these issues have become more urgent, on which antitrust processes, both in Russia and abroad, had an impact.

As already mentioned, legal support of telemedicine and implementation of blokchain technologies were discussed for the first time at the Conference. The participants agreed that these issues in the future would only grow in importance and should certainly be included in the agenda of the next conference.

Copyright issues in the digital age did not remain without attention of the participants. The role of the moral rights of authors, the role of collective management organizations in the exercise of exclusive rights on the Internet were thoroughly discussed. Several reports were devoted to the enforcement aspects: the ongoing disputes (including in the judiciary sphere) on the calculation of fair compensation for breach of copyright and related rights; analysis of the experience of Russia and the EU in limiting access to Internet sites for copyright protection, and others.

The conference was an important event both for the Laboratory for IT and IP and for our guests. We hope that every member, whether a prominent scientist, an expert or or a student, acquired a lot of useful ideas.

Bright moments of the Conference were covered in several Internet publications. See the following reviews: news agency InterMedia, an online magazine THE WALL