Lunch talk Empirical Legal Studies Initiative (ELSI)


On Wednesday, 9 December, Dr. Roberto Galbiati (Sciences Po, Paris) will give a talk on empirical legal research:

Incarceration policy and reoffending: insights from empirical economics

Time: 13:00 – 15:00.
Place: Room A009, Law Faculty, University of Amsterdam, Oudemanhuispoort 4.

This seminar connects law and economics by providing an accessible application of empirical techniques from economics to key concepts in legal policy. Specifically, we will study individuals' responses to expected criminal sentences, and discuss natural experiments in sentencing policies to evaluate how incarceration itself affects reoffending.

Lunch will be provided. No registration needed.

This lunch talk is part of the Empirical Legal Studies Initiative (ELSI). ELSI was developed by the ACLE Amsterdam Center for Law & Economics and the IViR Institute for Information Law, in collaboration with the CREED Center for Research in Experimental Economics and Political Decision-making. The goal is to provide a platform for engaging in discussions about the opportunities, challenges, and pitfalls regarding the combination of normative and empirical research, and to exchange experiences and best practices. ELSI will organise seminars, workshops, and conferences and invites everybody at the law faculty to join our activities. 

Daniel Chen (Harvard, Toulouse School of Economics) will give a talk on 3 February 2015.

The call for papers for the first conference on Empirical Legal Studies in Europe (CELSE) at the University of Amsterdam on 21-22 June 2016 is now open. The keynote speakers are Jennifer H. Arlen (NYU School of Law), Ian Ayres (Yale Law School), Bernard Black (Northwestern University School of Law) and Rens Bod (University of Amsterdam). Paper submission deadline: 15 February 2016 (6:00 CET). For more information please see: 

PhD defence Lodewijk Pessers


On Friday 18 December 2015, Lodewijk Pessers will defend his PhD thesis in public. The thesis is called:

The Evolution of the Inventiveness Requirement

Place: Aula of the University of Amsterdam (Oude Lutherse kerk, Singel 411, 1012 XM Amsterdam).
Time: 13.00 – 14.00 hours.

Summary of the book:

This book follows the requirement of inventiveness (in patent law) in its historical evolution, that is, from the very first moment that we can distinguish its contours up to the present day. In doing so, it focuses on three aspects in particular: what are the historical phases that can be discerned in the requirement’s evolution? What are the socio-economic and political forces that have determined or influenced its course? And how can (dis)similarities between the jurisdictions under examination (i.e. the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany and the Netherlands) be explained? For reasons of structure and overview, the book is divided into two parts. The first describes the evolution in its first three phases: the medieval, the mercantilist and the pre-modern ones. The latter is dedicated to the modern phase and pays particular attention to two different ‘schools’ that have developed in the 19th century and that continue to be relevant for the doctrine’s direction, even today. It will be argued that this dichotomy, that in this book is dubbed the qualitative – quantitative divide, has gradually merged into a hybrid approach that is rather qualitative in its appearance, but quantitative in its application.

Informatierecht student given role at Council of Europe conference


A student on the Informatierecht LL.M. programme, Patrick Leerssen, has been invited to participate in a high-level Council of Europe conference on freedom of expression. The conference, ‘Freedom of expression: still a precondition for democracy?’, will take place in Strasbourg on 13-14 October. It is shaping up to be the biggest conference that the Council of Europe has ever organized on the theme of freedom of expression, with the expected participation of more than 300 experts.

Speakers include several judges of the European Court of Human Rights, the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression and the OSCE Representative on Freedom of the Media. Various panels will focus on topics such as pluralist public debate; the democratic potential of the media; the limits of freedom of expression, the fight against terrorism and the dangers of mass surveillance.

Patrick will be session rapporteur for the panel focusing on freedom of expression online and the role of intermediaries. Earlier this year, he presented a paper on this theme at the VOX-Pol conference in Budapest and subsequently reworked the paper and had it accepted for publication in the forthcoming issue of the international, peer-reviewed journal, JIPITEC –  the Journal of Intellectual Property, Information Technology and Electronic Commerce Law

Tarlach McGonagle, who coordinates the Informatierecht LL.M. programme, is General Rapporteur for the Council of Europe conference.

IViR staff commenting on Schrems / Data Protection Commissioner, European Court of Justice, 6 October 2015


Judgment of the Court:
Maximillian Schrems / Data Protection Commissioner, European Court of Justice, 6 October 2015


Axel Arnbak:

Ot van Daalen:

Ot van Daalen & Axel Arnbak

Nico van Eijk:

Kristina Irion:

See also:


IViR starts research project about online access to audio-visual heritage in The Netherlands


The Institute for Informaton Law (IViR) was awarded a prestigious NWO grant to carry out a research project on copyright issues that prevent both online access to as well as re-use of the audio-visual materials digitized in the mass digitization project Images for the Future

In 2007 the Dutch government launched Images for the Future with the goal to preserve, digitize and make accessible online a large amount of audio-visual material held by, amongst others, the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. Today while an important part of the archives has been digitized, the material is hardly available online for the general public: copyright issues stand in the way of a broad dissemination. Whereas the digitization of audio-visual material has taken place on the basis of an exception in the Dutch Copyright Act, the making available of that material would most likely infringe the copyright owner's exclusive right, if done without prior authorization. As a result the unprecedented educational, cultural, societal, and economical value of Images for the Future mostly remains untapped, as long as the material cannot be made legally accessible.

The current project will investigate the underlying legal and practical issues relating to the making available of the Images for the Future. The project will develop strategies to overcome the main obstacles that prevent the use of the digitized material by different audiences and for different purposes, focusing on the public broadcasting collection. In doing so, the project will also explore the possibility of cooperating with private partners to develop new business models for making the Images for the Future available to the public with the permission of the rights holders and in such a way that different types of value can be generated from providing access to the digitized material."

The project has started on 1 July 2015.
For more information, contact Lucie Guibault or Simone Schroff

See also the press release (English) and persbericht (Dutch).




New IViR report on oversight on intelligence services


Ten standards for oversight and transparency of national intelligence services,
Sarah Eskens, Ot van Daalen en Nico van Eijk, IViR, 2015.

In dit rapport doen de onderzoekers tien aanbevelingen voor het toezicht op geheime diensten. Zo moet rechterlijke controle bij het toezicht de voorkeur hebben. Ook moet meer openheid worden gegeven over de uitoefening van bevoegdheden, onder meer door het publiceren van statistische gegevens.
De aanbevelingen vloeien voort uit een analyse van Europese mensenrechtenuitspraken van de afgelopen decennia. De onderzoekers hebben hiertoe vonnissen van het Europees Hof voor de Rechten van de Mens en het Hof van Justitie van de Europese Uni bestudeerd. De onderzoekers hebben zich vooral gericht op het onderscheppen van communicatie, maar de aanbevelingen zijn ook toepasbaar bij het toezicht op andere gebieden.

In this report, the researchers offer ten policy recommendations for oversight on intelligence services. Recommendations include that intelligence services should be subject to independent, prior oversight and that governments should be transparent about the exercise of surveillance powers.
The recommendations are based on an analysis of European human rights jurisprudence of the past decades. The researchers have studied of decisions of the European Court of Human Rights and the Court of Justice of the European Union. The researchers mostly focused on the interception of communication, but the policy recommendations are also applicable to oversight in other areas.

Media attention:

UvA Scriptieprijs 2015


Op zaterdag 6 juni 2015 is tijdens de Universiteitsdag van de Universiteit van Amsterdam de UvA-Scriptieprijs 2015 uitgereikt.

Het Instituut voor Informatierecht feliciteert Alexander de Leeuw, oud onderzoeksmaster student Informatierecht, met zijn derde plaats!





New book on the United Nations, freedom of expression and information


The United Nations and Freedom of Expression and Information: Critical Perspectives

T.McGonagle & Y.M. Donders (eds.)
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, June 2015, 534 pp.
ISBN 9781107083868.


This book provides a critical and uniquely comprehensive examination of the main UN standards and mechanisms dealing with the rights to freedom of expression and information. It details the chequered history of both rights within the UN system and evaluates the suitability of the system for overcoming contemporary challenges and threats to both rights.

The book’s institutional focus comprises five international treaties, UNESCO and the UN Special Rapporteur on freedom of expression. Different aspects of freedom of expression and information are foregrounded in different treaties, to ensure the effective enjoyment of both rights by particular groups, eg. children or persons with disabilities, or the meaningful application of the rights in particular situations, eg. combating racism.

The book’s thematic focus examines a selection of themes that are prompting fresh thinking about the substance and scope of the rights to freedom of expression and information, eg. the impact of new communication technologies.