Towards the Seamless Global Distribution of Cloud Content

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In the age of cloud computing, consumers expect content to be accessible anywhere, anytime. Since their arrival, cloud platforms and related services have posed considerable challenges to copyright holders. Notwithstanding these challenges, one cannot overlook the boundless opportunities this new technology has provided to rights holders for distributing copyright content across the world. To a large extent, the global distribution of cloud content has brought back the age-old discussion concerning the proper response to disruptive technology and the copyright industries' repeated and arguably short-sighted efforts to protect outdated business models.

To complicate matters further, cloud platforms and related services have raised new questions that have not been widely discussed in the digital technology debate. Because these platforms facilitate simultaneous multijurisdictional access to copyright content, they unsurprisingly are in a collision course with the territoriality principle in intellectual property law. Specifically, cloud computing has raised challenging questions concerning what laws to apply and whether those laws allow the protected content to be distributed.

This chapter begins by discussing the concept of territoriality in copyright law. It highlights two sets of territoriality questions implicated by cloud computing. The chapter then explores the justifications for and drawbacks of introducing geographical restrictions in cloud platforms. In view of the many drawbacks of these restrictions and the immense yet unfulfilled potential of cloud computing, this chapter concludes by identifying five areas in which adjustments can be introduced to promote the global distribution of cloud content. These adjustments also seek to address the territoriality challenges posed by existing nation-based copyright laws.

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Elgar Law, Technology and Society series

Series Title

Privacy and Legal Issues in Cloud Computing


Edward Elgar Publishing, Inc.


Anne S.Y. Cheung & Rolf H. Weber

Series Editor

Peter K. Yu