Law and policies for the digital economy. The role of comparative law

Law and policies for the digital economy. The role of comparative law

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With national legal systems called upon to apply local laws to a global phenomenon, competition in the digital realm concerns regulatory powers, competencies, and jurisdictional boundaries. This is why legal comparison plays a fundamental role in the fight for digital sovereignty. Against this backdrop, the talk ponders on the function of comparative law in the relationships among legal systems and in the ongoing “dialogue” among them. This scrutiny unveils an extensive use of legal comparison made by national and regional legal systems that affect all legal formants. Moreover, it shows the predominance of a “contrastive” comparison, primarily aimed at giving a distinctive identity to local rules for the digital sphere. Against this backdrop, the talk offers a concise appraisal of national and regional laws, namely those of the European Union, the United States of America and China. It explores the homologating effects caused globally by the circulation of private rules set by tech giants. At the same time, it retraces the many, often underground, forms of grassroots resistance which challenge the current narrative of the unrestricted power of digital platforms in shaping our society, according to a trajectory commonly described as free of obstacles and frictions.

Guido Smorto is Full professor of Comparative Law and EU Jean Monnet Chair in Comparative and European Digital Law at the University of Palermo (Italy). As International Visiting Professor, he taught in the U.S.A. (Fordham School of Law) and Japan (Nagoya University Graduate School of Law) and was invited as "Professore Visitante" in Brazil (University Oeste de Santa Catarina). His latest works - published in Italian, English, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Catalan - focus on law and digital technologies. On these topics, besides scholarly works and non-academic articles, he published a Report on behalf of the EU Commission and a Paper for the EU Parliament, and he contributed as an expert to the European Parliament Resolution on the Collaborative economy.

Professor Guido Smorto
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University of Aberdeen, KCG11