On July 7, Stanford law school’s Center for Internet and Society (CIS) launched its new online resource named World Intermediary Liability Map, also known as WILMap. According to WILMap, its mission is to provide a way to inform the public on the frequently evolving regulation affecting freedom of expression and user rights worldwide.
The WILMaps provides information covering over 50 countries worldwide. CIS created the interactive map so that visitors can research and learn about intermediary liability regimes worldwide, and identify places where legal regimes balance- or fail to balance- regulatory goals with free expression and other civil liberties.
The English-based online tool is user friendly and easy to navigate. By clicking on a country on the map, which includes countries from Africa, Asia, Central America, Europe, the Caribbean, the Middle East, and more, the resource provides information on legislation, bills and pending proposals, and court decisions. For example, after clicking on the United States, information on past legislation such as the 1946 Trademark Act and the 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act or bills and pending proposals like the 2011 Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are provided.
This project was spearheaded by Giancarlo Frosio, an Intermediary Liability Fellow at CIS. Frosio teamed up with other contributors, both individual researches and institutions, from around the world to create the WILMap.
Frosio states, “By their nature, Internet services are inherently global. But Internet companies face a real challenge understanding how those global regimes might regulate the services they offer to the public. This uncertainty can hurt users by potentially scaring companies away from providing innovative new services in certain markets. Additionally, companies may unnecessarily limit what users can do online, or engage in censorship-by-proxy to avoid uncertain retribution under unfamiliar laws.”
However, now Frosio and CIS have provided a way for Internet-based companies and other organizations to avoid these obstacles related to intermediary liability and Internet regulations.