The Internet, Policy & Politics Conferences

Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford

Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Primavera De Filippi: Regulating Distributed Peer-Production Infrastructures

Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, CNRS - LSE

Primavera De Filippi, CNRS - Harvard




Crowdsourcing designates a production process distributed among a large number of peers, which all contribute with their own resources to a common goal. The process can be either centralized, i.e. when the contributions of a disparate group of peers are coordinated through one central authority, or decentralized, i.e. when peers coordinate themselves in a distributed manner, without relying on any centralized authority.

This paper targets a specific kind of online peer-production platforms - so-called commons based production platforms (Benkler, 2006) - which implement decentralization both at the level of the technical infrastructure (i.e. with a decentralized, peer-to-peer architecture) and at the governance level (i.e. ownership of both the platform and the output of production is distributed or shared in common among all peers, instead of being controlled by a central entity). It will focus, in particular, on three distributed peer-production platforms: Kune, a federated platform for community management and collaborative production; Twister, a decentralized peer-to-peer micro-blogging platform; and Globaleaks, an anonymous, censorship-resistant, distributed whistle-blowing platform.

After analyzing the benefits they might offers in terms of user’s autonomy (Section 1.1), privacy (Section 1.2), anonymity (Section 1.3) and freedom of expression (Section 1.4), the paper will investigate the legal challenges they raise in terms of copyright infringement (Section 2.2), hate speech (Section 2.3) and cyber-criminality, more generally (Section 2.3). The paper will then move on to illustrate the regulatory options available to both policy makers and platforms designers to address these challenges (Section 3).

Melanie Dulong de Rosnay, Primavera De Filippi