Editorial

James Griffin and Anabela Susana de Sousa Gonçalves

It is with great pleasure that we write this introduction to the special issue of the journal. These papers stem from presentations that were given at the BILETA conference in 2017, which took place at the University of Minho, in Braga, Portugal. Our first article, by Jesus Manuel Niebla Zatarain focuses on copyright law, and the use of intelligent technology to help improve legal efficiencies - more precisely, statistical and syntactical tools. There is the argument that this method will allow the use and dissemination of automated technology to create artistic works law compliantly, reducing the possibility of copyright violations. With the rise of similar technologies in systems such as YouTube, we can only expect greater use of technologies in establishing legal violations, and so this article is rather timely.

Tomruk Üstünkaya provides us with an article about 3D printing. A topic that has been in the press recently, 3D printing poses all manner of challenges to IP law. Comparisons with Napster are all too commonly made. Tomruk is investigating how to combat counterfeiting in 3D printing, and is focusing upon all the main types of IP, which is useful since many works in the area tend to focus on particular aspects. There is the argument made that counterfeiting is linked to public taste, which introduces parallels with broader literature on the history of piracy more generally.

The organiser of the 2017 conference, Anabela de SoursaGonçalves, provides our third paper. In her interesting work, she looks at the issue of jurisdiction. She focuses on current rules such as Regulation No 1215/2012 (Brussels I Recast). This has special rules relating to torts, delict or quasi- delict (Article 7(2)). However, she highlights difficulties as to establishing where harmful events occur, and where the activity takes place, when this is online. She looks at the interpretation rules to establish the possible outcome. She argues a delict oriented approach, taking into consideration the area of geographical protection of the right, is justified by the need to identify the court best placed to assess the infringement of the right in question.

We have a comprehensive article from Alessandra Silveira and Joana Covelo de Abreu. They argue that the Digital Single Market initiative is aimed at providing digital solutions to improve the EU's economic competitiveness on the world stage. They refer to e-Justice, arguing that this should follow the interoperability solutions posed in the e-Government. They believe it should be possible for individuals and companies to be able to bring proceedings. Without extreme expense or procedure insecurities. The paper, in the authors' words, "sets a methodological inspiration on administrative interoperability in order to understand if judicial interoperability is the way to deepen e-Justice goals."

Finally, Maharg, Nair and Easton have investigated the current situation concerning open access of academic journals. They argue thata change of ownership in the means of production would open up access to legal scholarship and more broadly academic research, and they analyse some of the obstacles to achieving that. They show how radical Open Access (OA) alternatives can work, based upon a case study of two existing OA journals, and conclude with measures by which radical OA journals can be increased within the cultures of legal research. It is a thought provoking and instructive article which Universities and Law Schools would do well to digest and act upon.

Overall, we can see that one theme arising throughout all these articles in the special issue are dealing with the increased use of digital technology to provide legal solutions. Consider the situation over the last few decades, and one can begin to see how the approaches to legal regulation are changing considerably. We hope that you, as the reader, find these articles stimulating, and we encourage you to investigate this somewhat critical issue further in future.

Dr James Griffin,
University of Exeter.


Assistant Professor Anabela Susana de Sousa Gonçalves,
Vice President,
School of Law, University of Minho,
Braga, Portugal.

April 2018.