Electronic Commerce Research

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 99–110 | Cite as

Governance of digital content in the era of mass participation

  • Tobias Regner
  • Javier A. Barria
  • Jeremy V. Pitt
  • Brendan Neville
Open Access


The realm of digital media is undergoing fundamental changes as it moves from mass media to an era of mass participation. This emergence of content created by the masses requires to re-consider the conventional intellectual property rights framework. Free content and protected content co-exist (in the Dark/Light Web).

We propose an alternative environment for the governance of digital content. It incorporates psychological aspects into its economics framework. Multi-agent systems play an important role in order to create an infrastructure that makes the voluntary-based environment sustainable.

We propose a platform based on an open contracts design that encourages voluntary payments. Peer-based reputation and recommendation mechanisms as well as socio-emotive instruments facilitate norm adherence in this online environment. They leverage the efficiency of alternative voluntary payment models based on fairness concerns and reciprocity.

The envisioned platform matches Dark Web content to consumers who value it highly, provides Dark Web content creators with a basic reward for their work and reduces the infringement of protected content in the Dark Web.


Music industry Copyright Digital media Creative commons Artist life cycle Light Web Dark Web Multi-agent systems 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tobias Regner
    • 1
  • Javier A. Barria
    • 2
  • Jeremy V. Pitt
    • 2
  • Brendan Neville
    • 2
  1. 1.Max Planck Institute of EconomicsJenaGermany
  2. 2.Intelligent Systems & Networks Group, Department of Electrical and Electronic EngineeringImperial College LondonLondonUK

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