Theory and practice in the analysis of information policy in the digital age: a casestudy on the formulation of the European Directive on the legal protection of databases.

Turner, Paul (1999). Theory and practice in the analysis of information policy in the digital age: a casestudy on the formulation of the European Directive on the legal protection of databases.. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City University)

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the academic study of information policy and aims to improve theoretical and methodological approaches for the analysis of complex information policy environments. In conducting a casestudy on the formulation of the European directive on the legal protection of databases. up to its adoption in March 1996. the research aims to explore the ways in which copyright and information issues were framed. and solutions shaped by the process of formulating policy responses to them at the European level.

At the substantive level the research examines the legal issues arising in the protection of databases in Europe and describes and explains the role of human. organisational and contextual factors in shaping the content of the directive as finally adopted. At the methodological level the research examines the utility of a re-interpreted process model of policy-making for providing a coherent framework within which to conduct analysis of this complex information policy issue. At the theoretical level the research aims to use the casestudy findings to generate insights for the academic study of complex (European) information policy environments.

The literature review begins by examining the development of information policy and considers the main problems that have inhibited the development of a coherent approach to information policy studies from within the information science tradition. It examines the reinterpreted process model of policy-making and presents it as a heuristic device with which to conduct the casestudy. The literature review also examines in detail the development of copyright policy at the European level and identifies the expansion of protection that has taken place. In particular. the impact of digital information and communication technologies on copyright regimes is considered. The literature review also outlines the emergence of the European Union(EU). and considers how the EU has shaped the characteristics of. and interactions between policy actors operating in the European policy-making environment.

The casestudy analysis is conducted in two parts consisting of a detailed analysis of documentary evidence and forty in-depth semi-structured interviews with policy actors directly involved in the formulation of the directive. In deploying the re-interpreted process model the analysis is divided into two overlapping phases linked by the publication of the Commission's formal directive proposal in 1992. To ensure that the casestudy findings can be used in a more generalisable manner the analysis addresses the links between the formulation of the database directive and the wider context of European copyright and information policy-making in the digital age. Following the documentary and interview analysis the research findings are discussed and interpreted.

The thesis concludes that at a substantive level the formulation of European copyright policy is problematic and tends towards a strengthening of protection in favour of right shoulders. In the digital environment the implications of this for other areas of information policy are also shown to be of concern. At the methodological level the re-interpreted process model is highlighted as useful in sensitising analysis to sources of complexity in the formulation process and for providing a coherent framework within which to study them. At the theoretical level the thesis enhances understanding of (European) information policy processes and provides some useful insights for academic information policy studies.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: Z Bibliography. Library Science. Information Resources > Z665 Library Science. Information Science
Divisions: School of Informatics > Department of Information Science
URI: http://openaccess.city.ac.uk/id/eprint/17609

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