The medium is the message after all: a skeptical account of convergence

Dr Daithi Mac Sithigh joins us for this talk proposing distinctions between mediums are more culturally and economically significant than often understood in a so-called age of convergence.

Dr Sithigh (Reader in Law at Newcastle University Law School) proposes that differential regulation based on distinctions between different forms of communications is long established, across a range of fields. Examples include approaches to non-verbal communication (e.g. ranging from religion to protest), the expansion of copyright law to emerging technologies in the early 20th century, and the application of broadcasting and telecommunications law to cable and satellite in the late 20th century. Despite dealing with different doctrines and legal systems, he contends that they share an acknowledgement that different platforms provoke different types of regulatory response, and summarises how this approach can be utilised in studying and understanding present-day media and IT laws, with particular emphasis on distinctions between audiovisual media platforms and formats (‘film’, ‘game’, and the like).