SOFTWARE AND INTERNET REGULATION ISSUES, ADVERSARIAL INTEROPERABILITY, EUROPEAN UNION’S DIGITAL SERVICES ACT AND DIGITAL MARKETS ACT

In today's digital world, dealing with rules for software and the internet is a big challenge. One of these challenges is adversarial interoperability, which looks at how different systems work together while following the law. However recently, the European Union has put forward the Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act to make sure the digital world is fair and competitive. In this week's blog post we will try to explain these three topics: software and internet regulation issues, adversarial interoperability, and the European Union's Digital Services and Digital Markets Act regulations and to understand how they are shaping our digital lives.

I. SOFTWARE AND INTERNET REGULATION ISSUES

Large internet platforms are part of our daily life. Whether it's Google for research, WhatsApp for communication, or Netflix for entertainment. There is a wide range of internet platforms. However, most people use well-known internet platforms instead of lesser-known ones such as Escosia (search engine) or Viber (Messenger). This means that there is a strong concentration on a few companies, giving them more and more influence. Their influence extends to (almost) all areas of life and has a strong influence on society. But before we can discuss the issues of regulating (and if it is even needed?), we need to understand what exactly large internet platforms are. For this, we have to first comprehend how the internet works.

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A. How Does the Internet Work?

The Internet is a global computer network consisting of national, regional, and private networks.1 In other words, it's a network of networks. But what is a network? In very simple terms, “a network is a connection of at least two computer systems that enables the exchange of data and the use of shared resources”. Therefore, the internet enables us to exchange data between different devices, regardless of which ones are involved, where they are located, how they are connected, and regardless of what data is being sent. For this purpose, the internet provides an infrastructure, which has to be distinguished from the content available on the internet.

1. Infrastructure of the Internet

The provided infrastructure enables the transfer of data to take place by dividing the data or information that is to be sent into small data packets. These packets are then routed to their destination via network devices such as routers and switches. While Routers forward the data packets to the various computer networks according to their destination, switches connect devices that share a single network and forward incoming and outgoing data packets to the correct devices. Once the destination has been reached, the many small packets are then reassembled back into one large packet.  The division of data into small data packets allows for a faster and more efficient data transfer.2

In untechnical terms, this is how the Internet works. Technically, this transfer of data takes place on many different layers, as can be seen in the illustration below.

Layers of the internet Just as sending a packet requires the postal service, using the Internet requires an actor who enables access to the network. These actors are the so-called Internet service providers (ISPs).

2. Content on the Internet

Whereas the infrastructure is how the internet works the content is the type of data that is transferred. Let's take Instagram as an example. The posted photos, videos, and comments are part of the content layer. They use the infrastructure provided by the internet so that the data/information can be sent.

With that being said, let's look at what large internet platforms are and why they have to be regulated.

B. Large Internet Platforms

Internet platforms (also called online platforms) are digital services that facilitate interactions between two or more distinct but interdependent sets of users who interact through the service via the Internet.  The spectrum of different platforms ranges from search engines to streaming services, social media, online marketplaces, and much more.3

Landscape of online platforms As these platforms have millions of users and a great influence on society the Question arises if these platforms should be regulated. First of all, it needs to be pointed out that those who run these platforms are free to decide who can use them and how. This means, using the example of social media platforms, that they can for example control which content can be posted, how popular a post can become, and who can use the platform. This issue is particularly sensitive to fundamental rights. Decisions on which content can or cannot be posted can interfere with the freedom of opinion or the personal rights of those people affected. This is why in a democratic constitutional state such decisions are made by independent courts. In the case of large internet platforms, these decisions are made by those who run the platform, who then act as rule-makers, rule enforcers, and judges therefore massively encroaching on the fundamental rights of those using the platforms.4 Nevertheless, it can be argued that users are not forced to use these platforms. But is this argument true? Or are some online platforms so important for the public that there is no way around using the platform?

1. Interoperability

To answer these questions, we need to take a closer look at the topic of interoperability. Interoperability is the ability of different systems, devices, applications, or products to connect and communicate in a coordinated way without the end user having to do anything.5 This distinguishes interoperability from compatibility, which is primarily concerned with ensuring that products work on one or more systems without problems. Let's take SMS or E-Mail as an example of interoperability. No matter which smartphone a person uses they can send an SMS or Mail to another smartphone.

2. Technical Types of Interoperability

The interoperability described above can be of varying degrees and manifests itself in many ways. Firstly, there is structural interoperability, which describes the ability to transfer data from one system to another.

Then there is syntactic interoperability, where different systems can communicate successfully via compatible formats and protocols. The sent data can now not only be received but can also be understood because both devices speak the same "language".

Thirdly there is semantic interoperability, where the systems can not only communicate with each other, but they can also automatically exchange and interpret the information. The prerequisite for semantic interoperability is that the structure and coding of the data are standardized in all participating systems. Maybe you know it from your voice assistants like Alexa or Siri. Sometimes you are asked if you can repeat something because Alexa or Siri didn't understand it. Alexa or Siri usually understood the words but couldn't make sense of them. In these cases, there is a lack of semantic interoperability between you and Alexa or Siri.

Finally, there is organizational interoperability, which describes the possibility of transferring data from one system to another, even if different information systems and infrastructures are used. 6

3. Walled Garden

It is important not to forget, that interoperability is not guaranteed everywhere. This is particularly the case with social media platforms. Why can't Instagram users communicate with friends who use TikTok, or similar social media platforms? This would be technically possible. So why doesn't it work? This is because, since the 1990s, the large internet platforms involved have established a higher layer of network control based on the open and decentralized internet infrastructure described above, which makes it almost impossible for users to interact with other platforms. 7 There are many such so-called walled gardens. Common examples are:

  • App Store and Play Store;
  • Social media sites, such as Facebook and X
  • Advertising and marketing technology platforms, such as Google, Facebook, Apple and Amazon

Walled gardens offer platforms the advantage of controlling the type of content that users have access to. Better protection against content or malware-ridden downloads can also be used as an advantage. In addition to these advantages, the platforms are likely to benefit from two advantages in particular:

  • Walled gardens create an illusion of exclusivity that requires payment before being granted access to walled-in content.
  • They require users to remain on social media platforms, rather than being diverted elsewhere so that the number of marketing and advertising campaigns can reach a maximum.8

The advantages of the platforms also lead directly to disadvantages for users, such as

  • Lock-in effects: Due to platform-specific data standards and a lack of interfaces, users cannot migrate their data to another platform provider and thus become structurally tied to the platform.
  • High market concentration: If a user has to choose between many different platforms, they usually opt for the platform with the most users. This leads to a centralization of many users on a few platforms, which can end up eliminating competition and innovation.

These disadvantages make it almost impossible for users not to use certain platforms. This brings great responsibility to the platforms. As a result, further disadvantages can arise, such as

  • Potential for abuse: If a platform is used a lot, it generates a lot of data. Platform operators can use this data to create user profiles and utilize them for profit.
  • Lack of self-determination: Social media platforms analyze posts to sort them and display them to their users in the newsfeed or timeline according to their algorithm of recommendations. In this way, the platforms try to keep their users on the platform for as long as possible. At the same time, news feeds have a significant influence on the formation of public opinion and are partly responsible for the spread of disinformation and hate speech.9

II. ADVERSARIAL INTEROPERABILITY

A. The Term, “Adversarial Interoperability” and Its Evolution

The concept of "interoperability" refers to the integration of a new product or service with existing ones, a fundamental aspect of modern life enabling various devices and services to work together seamlessly. Interoperability refers to a product's ability to function alongside various other products, similar to plugging one product or service into another. Within the technology industry, it basically defines the technical capacity of products or services to interact together smoothly.10

In addition to the technical categorization of interoperability (see above title: 2. Technical Types of Interoperability) it can be further examined under, three distinct categories of interoperability, each affecting consumers and copyright holders differently. Below mentioned method adopted nowadays, and used to define interoperability, was introduced by Cory Doctorow he divides interoperability according to its installation types.11

Firstly, there's "indifferent" interoperability, where copyright holders show minimal concern about other devices working with their protected work. An instance of this is the use of cigarette lighter phone chargers, where the car's lighter developer is typically unconcerned about someone plugging a phone charger into their product.

Secondly, "cooperative" interoperability involves developers welcoming the creation of add-ons or features for their protected product. For instance, phone manufacturers integrating standard headphone jacks or Bluetooth chips into their devices allow consumers to connect compatible accessories, broadening the product's capabilities.

Lastly, "adversarial" interoperability occurs when a manufacturer produces a product that works with another developer's product, despite the latter's opposition. This could entail third-party replacement parts or unauthorized applications for computers or phones. Despite offering advancements or improved user experiences, copyright holders view these devices as threats to their economic interests in the copyrighted material and typically resist their development.12

Despite all, today’s competitive and innovative tech market created a more assertive form of interoperability and termed it as, "adversarial interoperability" is now essential. As mentioned above this occurs when a novel product or service connects with established ones without seeking permission from the companies producing the latter. Examples include third-party printer ink, alternative app stores, and independent repair shops utilizing compatible components from rival manufacturers to repair various devices.

Nowadays, adversarial interoperability has been pivotal in driving the dynamic nature of the technology market. It empowered smaller startups to challenge dominant companies swiftly and rendered even the largest firms vulnerable to rapid decline. Adversarial interoperability was previously the driving force behind tech's dynamic marketplace, where the biggest companies could go from top of the heap to scrap metal in the blink of an eye, and where startups might topple powerful companies before they realized what struck them. To balance this situation of the current technology market, legislation, rules, and rulings from courts that significantly limit adversarial interoperability became a need.

1. Examples of Adversarial Interoperability - SMB & SAMBA

Adversarial interoperability in the tech industry challenges the dominance of established players by utilizing their own strengths against them. Consider the historical case of SAMBA versus SMB, illustrating how this strategy unsettled a monopolist's hold.

samba Users of Apple and Microsoft faced obstacles due to incompatible file and data formats in the early days of personal computers. As office networking gained traction, the battle shifted to networking compatibility. Apple's seamless AppleTalk protocol contrasted sharply with Windows' problematic SMB protocol for Mac integration, resulting in divided Mac-only and PC-only environments in businesses.

Everything began to change in 1993 when Andrew Tridgell, an Australian PhD candidate, released his SAMBA package as free/open-source software and made it known to the large developer community. At that time, developers were trying to connect their non-Microsoft computers, such as workstations running MacOS and Linux servers, to the widely used Microsoft LANs. This open-source software dissected and reverse-engineered Microsoft's SMB packets, offering cross-compatibility between Mac, Unix, and Windows systems.

SAMBA's emergence during Microsoft's peak dominance was a pivotal moment, offering a lifeline for operating system competitors. It enabled non-Microsoft systems to function within Microsoft-dominated networks, preventing Microsoft from potentially squashing competitors and ensuring their sustained growth. Without SAMBA's adversarial interoperability, Microsoft's stronghold might have been significantly more overpowering.13

2. Examples of Adversarial Interoperability - iWork & Microsoft Office Suite

In the early 2000s, Apple faced a daunting challenge while Microsoft dominated the tech landscape with its Windows operating system and Office suite. Apple, with a much smaller user base, struggled to seamlessly exchange documents with the vast Windows community due to inconsistencies and issues in Microsoft's Office for the Mac. Seeking a solution, Apple didn't rely on Microsoft's willingness to improve Mac offerings or standardize their flagship products. Instead, they resorted to reverse engineering.

iWorks & Office

Apple's response involved intensifying the development of its iWork suite, comprising Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. These applications were feature-rich and innovative, yet their superiority alone wouldn't guarantee adoption since the best applications are useless if others can't access them. What set iWork apart and rekindled Apple's success was its capability to open and save most Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files. Apple achieved this compatibility despite Microsoft's reluctance, employing diligent reverse-engineering and reimplementation to create an adversarially interoperable product. Apple committed to maintaining this interoperability, persistently fixing compatibility issues arising from Microsoft's updates. Eventually, Microsoft's users became reliant on compatibility with Apple users, compelling Microsoft to refrain from changes that disrupted their cross-platform flow.14

iWork's success and Apple's revival stemmed from its applications Pages, Numbers, and Keynote. They could handle Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files, respectively, without Microsoft's support. Apple ingeniously reverse-engineered compatibility. Despite Microsoft's updates, Apple maintained this interoperability, making Microsoft users rely on compatibility with Apple. This pattern stabilized document interoperability, with various alternatives like Google Docs and LibreOffice emerging. They aren't just interoperable; they're adversarially interoperable, in that reading Microsoft's file format.

3. Examples of Adversarial Interoperability - Facebook & MySpace

In the battle between social media giants Facebook and Myspace, Facebook used a clever strategy of adversarial interoperability to challenge Myspace's dominance. When Facebook was launched, Myspace was the dominant force in social media. Facebook developed a tool that allowed its users to directly message individuals on Myspace, showcasing its capabilities and offering an alternative communication method. By doing so, Facebook disrupted Myspace's hold on the market, presenting itself as a compelling option for users. This move was instrumental in attracting users to consider switching platforms and ultimately played a significant role in Facebook's ascent to becoming a dominant social media platform with billions of users. This case highlights how adversarial interoperability can be used strategically to challenge established players in a market and create competition.15

B. Legal Framework

In our studies, we have seen that software creates discussions in many legal fields such as copyright property law, patent law, contracts and consumer law, data protection law, and internet regulations, and that various legal arguments arise regarding the evaluation of software as a product or service.

Also in our discussions, we often stated that technology is developing rapidly. Still, during this rapid development, the rights of the owners of ideas or developers, such as copyright, are eliminated. Therefore, a balance is essential between the rights of the developers and the free innovation of the technology.

It’s the same dilemma that comes to mind when we are talking about adversarial interoperability. Even when you read the description of the terms, the first question that comes to mind is that "at core adversarial interoperability is something that companies do without any permission", so at first sight, you can see that the cases are mostly about issues regarding that. From that perspective, we can say that legal disputes arising from adversarial interoperability are mostly in the framework of copyright law, patent law, antitrust law, consumer and contracts law.

Today, there is no legislation in the European Union or any of the member States focused solely on adversarial interoperability. However, various laws, regulations, and legal cases indirectly touch upon aspects related to interoperability, competition, and data sharing that can impact adversarial interoperability. Below are some Legislations, that could be given regarding this issue.

1. German Act Against Restraint of Competition (ARC)

Although there isn’t a case where adversarial interoperability is discussed till today, one of the first nations to put in place a legal framework allowing authorities to force social media (and other digital) platforms to comply with interoperability or data sharing requirements is Germany. The ARC Digitization Act, which went into effect in January 2021, amended German competition law in two ways: (1) it explicitly acknowledged the role that data plays in determining an entity's dominance within a particular market; and (2) it made it illegal for dominant entities to refuse to do business with third parties without providing an objective explanation, especially if doing so would restrict their access to data, networks, or other infrastructure facilities.16

The German Act Against Restraints of Competition (ARC) ensures fair competition and prevents anti-competitive practices. In the context of adversarial interoperability cases, this law addresses situations where companies limit access to their platforms or services, hindering competition. Companies in dominant market positions must allow fair access, and impeding interoperability could breach the ARC. If a dominant company restricts access or implements measures obstructing interoperability, it might violate the ARC, which aims to prevent anti-competitive behavior and ensure fair competition. Actions impeding fair access or competition may face scrutiny or legal repercussions under German competition law in adversarial interoperability cases.

2. Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States

At this point, one of the remarkable regulations is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) in the United States. Article 1201 of DMCA can apply to cases arising around adversarial interoperability. Article 1201 of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) is a provision that prohibits the circumvention of technological measures that control access to copyrighted works. It makes it illegal to bypass or breakthrough digital locks or technological protection measures (TPMs) that safeguard copyrighted material.17

In the context of adversarial interoperability cases, Article 1201 of the DMCA can be a significant hurdle. When companies employ technological protection measures to control access to their platforms or services, it restricts others from developing interoperable products or tools. For instance, if a company implements encryption or access controls to protect its system, attempting to circumvent these measures to create interoperable software might violate the DMCA.

This provision can hinder competitors or third-party developers from reverse-engineering or creating interoperable products that work with established platforms or services. It prevents them from accessing or modifying the underlying systems, even if they intend to foster competition or improve compatibility.

Therefore, in adversarial interoperability cases, Article 1201 of the DMCA serves as a legal barrier that restricts the ability of third-party developers or competitors to engage in activities that involve circumventing technological barriers, potentially limiting their capacity to create compatible or interoperable solutions.

3. European Union’s Digital Markets Act

The Digital Markets Act (DMA) aims to regulate major online platforms and address their potential anti-competitive behavior, which we will be explaining more in the third section of this blog post (III. DIGITAL SERVICES ACT AND DIGITAL MARKETS ACT). Regarding adversarial interoperability cases, the DMA is pertinent as it seeks to foster fair competition and innovation within digital markets just like ARC in Germany.

C. Possible Future Challenges Regarding the Cases of Adversarial Interoperability

In the evolving landscape of technology and digital markets, the future of adversarial interoperability within legal frameworks like the DMCA, DMA, and ARC presents several anticipated challenges. Companies will likely use more advanced tech measures, making it harder for outside developers to connect without breaking the law. Future legal cases might make it trickier to understand and use existing laws fairly, blurring the line between fair competition and unfair practices. Ensuring global regulatory compliance while maintaining interoperability could become more demanding and financially burdensome for global entities.

Balancing the encouragement of innovation through interoperability against preventing monopolistic control remains a significant challenge, especially concerning issues like data privacy and proprietary technologies. Collaboration among policymakers, industry stakeholders, and legal experts will be crucial in shaping regulations that address these challenges in the future. Harmonizing legal standards internationally is crucial for a cohesive approach to adversarial interoperability, but it remains challenging due to diverse laws and enforcement strategies across borders. Navigating these challenges will require continual adaptation and evolution of legal frameworks to ensure they effectively promote innovation, uphold fair competition, and safeguard proprietary technologies within the dynamically shifting digital landscape. Collaboration among policymakers, industry stakeholders, and legal experts will be pivotal in shaping regulations that address these challenges in the future. 18

Conclusively, adversarial interoperability fuels innovation by fostering competition and enabling the creation of alternative solutions to interface with dominant platforms. This approach encourages diverse market offerings, enhances consumer choice, and challenges monopolistic control, ultimately contributing to a more balanced tech market. However, on the other hand, achieving interoperability may raise legal complexities and potential conflicts with legislation. Balancing this promotion of innovation through competition while complying with legal frameworks, ensuring consumer protections, and striving for a fair and balanced tech market remains a critical challenge in navigating the landscape of adversarial interoperability.

III. DIGITAL SERVICES ACT AND DIGITAL MARKETS ACT

Regulation (EU) 2022/1925 on contestable and fair markets in the digital sector (Digital Markets Act, DMA) and Regulation (EU) 2022/2065 on a single market for digital services (Digital Services Act, DSA) are both part of the Digital Services Act package. The aim of the EU Commission is to create a secure digital space in which the fundamental rights of citizens (and also those of companies) are protected. The two regulations are therefore intended to create a secure digital space in which the fundamental rights of all users are protected on the one hand and to guarantee the conditions for fair competition on the other.19

A. The Digital Services Act

The DSA is one pillar of the Digital Services Act package. By establishing harmonised rules, the DSA aims to create a secure, predictable and trustworthy online environment in which innovation is promoted and the fundamental rights enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights are protected (see Art. 1 para. 1 DSA). To this end, the DSA lays down rules for intermediary services. According to Art. 3 lit. g) DSA, intermediary services are information society services which have as their object either the transmission of information provided by a user, the transmission and intermediate storage of the information provided or the storage of the information provided by a user. Nowadays, almost all social media applications are likely to be covered by this extremely broad definition. For the providers of these services, the DSA sets out in particular a framework for the conditional exemption from liability and special duties of care (see Art. 1 para. 2 lit. a), b) DSA). The DSA sets out comprehensive obligations for providers of very large online platforms and very large online search engines.In accordance with Art. 33 para. 4 DSA, the Commission issues a decision in which these providers (which must have an average number of at least 45 million monthly users) are designated.On 25 April 2023, the Commission adopted the first designation decisions under the DSA. 20 In these decisions, it designated 17 very large online platforms and two very large online search engines that reach at least 45 million active users per month.These include Facebook, Google and Amazon.According to Art. 34, in addition to the other requirements, they must carry out a risk assessment in accordance with Art. 34 DSA and take appropriate measures to minimise identified risks in accordance with Art. 35 DSA.At the same time, Art. 36 authorises the Commission to require providers to take further measures in the event of a crisis in accordance with Art. 33 DSA. In addition, providers of very large online platforms or search engines are subject to further obligations:

  • Recommendation systems without profiling
  • Transparency obligations in relation to online advertising
  • Verification obligations
  • Data access and control systems
  • Establishment of a compliance department
  • Transparency reporting obligations.

Since 25 August 2023, designated operators must have set up their systems, resources and procedures to comply with the DSA provisions.In the event of violations or inadequate implementation of the DSA, fines of up to 6% of annual global turnover can be imposed, depending on the type and severity of the violation.21

B. The Digital Markets Act

The DMA aims to contribute to the smooth functioning of the internal market by ensuring a fair market for all digital sectors in which gatekeepers operate through harmonised rules, Art. 1 para. 1 DMA. The focus is on regulating dominant digital platforms, so-called gatekeepers, and limiting their market power. The aim is to create fair competitive conditions, promote innovation and strengthen users' rights. An undertaking is designated as a gatekeeper in accordance with the criteria set out in Art. 3 DMA if it has a significant impact on the internal market (Art. 3 para. 1 lit. a) DMA), provides a core platform service that serves as an important gateway for business users to reach end users (Art. 3 para. 1 lit. b) DMA) and has or will have an established and lasting position in relation to these activities (Art. 3 para. 1 lit. c) DMA). Central platform services are defined in Art. 2 No. 2 and include many services, from online intermediary services (see DSA) to search engines, cloud computing services and web browsers. However, the focus is on platforms that have significant market power (and therefore act as gatekeepers). These gatekeepers are subject to specific obligations in order to utilise their market power fairly.

  1. Interoperability and data exchange: Gatekeepers must ensure interoperability, in particular by providing interfaces that allow other companies to interact seamlessly with their platforms. They must also grant access to certain data in order to promote competition. The exchange of data should take place under clear, fair and non-discriminatory conditions.
  2. Transparency of ranking algorithms: Gatekeepers must ensure transparent procedures for the ranking of services, products or offers on their platforms. The criteria and parameters of their algorithm decisions should be disclosed to enable fair treatment of all providers.
  3. Self-preferencing and discrimination: Gatekeepers may not give preferential treatment to their own products or services. Self-preferencing and discrimination against competitors are prohibited in order to ensure open and fair competition. This is to ensure that users see a wide range of offers and are not unnecessarily restricted.
  4. Control over software installation: Gatekeepers must ensure that users have the ability to uninstall or disable pre-installed software applications. This prevents gatekeepers from exploiting their market position by pre-installing their own applications on users' devices.
  5. Ex-ante measures and risk assessment: The EU Commission can oblige gatekeepers to take certain measures to prevent competition problems before they occur (ex-ante measures). This is done on the basis of a risk assessment that takes into account the gatekeeper's market power and behaviour.

Sanctions may be imposed for breaches of the obligations set out in the DMA. The EU Commission is authorised to impose fines of up to 10% of the global annual turnover of the gatekeeper concerned. This serves as a deterrent measure and is intended to ensure that the rules are adhered to in order to guarantee a fair and open digital market.

C. Assessment & Outlook

The DSA and DMA ultimately attempt to break the oligopoly or monopoly position of the big tech companies by establishing a legal framework within which these companies are allowed to operate on the European market.The obligations vary in scope, but in some cases encroach on entrepreneurial freedom of choice to a not inconsiderable extent. While the DSA obligations tend to be closer to classic compliance obligations, the DMA obligations (e.g. regarding interoperability) sometimes go considerably further than classic compliance obligations.

The two legal acts thus have a noble aim, namely the creation of a free and secure Internet in which, for example, as a user of the Windows operating system, I am not forced to use the Microsoft Edge browser or can delete it without any problems. In this way, you can strengthen users' rights, protect them better against illegal content and ensure transparency with regard to the terms of use. It is presumably in the nature of the market that Big Tech has made full use of the permitted options in order to maximise its profits. It remains to be seen whether DSA and DMA will bring the Internet back to where supporters of the open source culture and related circles in particular would like it to be, and this may also depend on the future weight of the EU in the international community.

Finally, it is unfortunately questionable whether the EU Commission can serve as a credible advocate of a free and open Internet if it is working in parallel to introduce the unprovoked and far-reaching surveillance of our communications.

Discussuion topics

Here are our discussion topics for you to interact with our Blogpost:

  1. Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a general interoperability obligation. Would such an obligation be useful to regulate the influence of large internet platforms?
  2. Do you think "adversarial interoperability" truly leads to innovative technological ideas? Or is it just competing for market dominance among "big tech" companies? Discuss this topic in a tech market & innovation context.
  3. Do the DSA and DMA have the potential to make the Internet more secure and prevent walled gardens, or do they run the risk of preventing innovation?

Tech Stack

For our blog post this time we are relying on open source: Pelican, a static site generator based on Python, a widely used and easy-to-learn programming language. Pelican enables the author to write texts in Markdown even without programming knowledge and also to adapt the presentation to the end device. The advantage of this type of presentation (responsive design) is that content can also be displayed well on a mobile phone or tablet - because we now consume most content via our smartphones. Of course, moodle, which is also open source, also has a responsive design and supports markdown, too. We host our site in our personal HU webspace. If you want to try it out for yourself, good starting points are the HU-Webspace and Pelican webpage.

Writing with Markdown is more fun, much easier and at the same time faster than writing with Word & co. and is therefore actually a useful tool, especially for lawyers. You can find an overview of the syntax here and an overview of open source Markdown editors here.

Bibliography

Sources

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  7. Dominik Piétron, Interoperabilität als Regulierungsinstrument für Social-Media-Plattformen, last accessed on 7.12.23.
  8. Andrew Froehlich, Walled Garden, last access on 07.12.23.
  9. Dominik Piétron, Interoperabilität als Regulierungsinstrument für Social-Media-Plattformen; https://www.heise.de/hintergrund/Interoperabilitaet-als-Regulierungsinstrument-fuer-Social-Media-Plattformen-6345726.html, last accessed on 7.12.23.
  10. Adam Thierer, On Doctorow’s “Adversarial Interoperability”.
  11. Cory Doctrow, Interoperability: Fix the Internet, Not the Tech Companies.
  12. Cory Doctrow, Interoperability: Fix the Internet, Not the Tech Companies, Tyler Fabbri, The Best Laid Plans: How DMCA sec. 1201 Went Awry, Smothering Competition and Creating Giants, and Where We Go Now, Journal of Intellectual Property Law, Volume 28 Issue 1, p.158, 159, Rishab Bailey & Prakhar Misra, Interoperability of social media platforms: An appraisal of the regulatory and technical ecosystem, p. 5, p. 6.
  13. Cory Doctorow, SAMBA versus SMB: Adversarial Interoperability is Judo for Network Effects.
  14. Cory Doctorow, Adversarial Interoperability: Reviving an Elegant Weapon From a More Civilized Age to Slay Today's Monopolies.
  15. Cory Doctorow, Adversarial Interoperability: Reviving an Elegant Weapon From a More Civilized Age to Slay Today's Monopolies; Tyler Fabbri, The Best Laid Plans: How DMCA sec. 1201 Went Awry, Smothering Competition and Creating Giants, and Where We Go Now, Journal of Intellectual Property Law, Volume 28 Issue 1, p. 168,169.
  16. Rishab Bailey & Prakhar Misra, Interoperability of social media platforms: An appraisal of the regulatory and technical ecosystem, p. 13, p. 14.
  17. Tyler Fabbri, The Best Laid Plans: How DMCA sec. 1201 Went Awry, Smothering Competition and Creating Giants, and Where We Go Now, Journal of Intellectual Property Law, Volume 28 Issue 1, p.158 and 173, 174.
  18. Tyler Fabbri, The Best Laid Plans: How DMCA sec. 1201 Went Awry, Smothering Competition and Creating Giants, and Where We Go Now, Journal of Intellectual Property Law, Volume 28 Issue 1, p.15 - 19, Cory Doctorow, Adversarial Interoperability: Reviving an Elegant Weapon From a More Civilized Age to Slay Today's Monopolies, last accessed on: 10.12.2023.
  19. https://digital-strategy.ec.europa.eu/de/policies/digital-services-act-package, last viewed on 12.12.2023.
  20. European Union’s Press Release from 25.04.23. "Digital Services Act: Commission designates first set of Very Large Online Platforms and Search Engines“, last accessed on 12.12.2023.
  21. European Commission, The enforcement framework under the Digital Services Act, last accessed on 10.12.23.

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