Politics, Business & Culture in the Americas

Who’s Liable for User-Generated Content?

How to regulate user-generated content in Latin America and why it’s important.

In the past 250 years, five technology waves have swept the world—each one leaving a profound transformative impact. The industrial revolution changed the nature of work. Then came the changes produced by the advent of motorized flight and electronics, followed by the development of aerospace technology. Today we are going through the fifth and arguably the most challenging wave of all—the digital revolution.

Even though the Internet has been with us for more than 30 years, and its associated tools such as computers and telematics (telecommunications and information technology) have been developing over time, we can set 19911 as the year when the Internet became an instrument of mass communications and left the exclusivity of research centers to become a fixture in our homes and lives. In the last 17 years, innovation applied to the development of information and communications technologies (ICT) has generated an explosion in creative, communicational and social energy on a global scale.

In Latin America alone there are more than 72 million single residential users connected to the Internet. Over the next five years, the estimated number will more than double to 160 million. In the same period, the number of users accessing the Internet outside their homes (cybercafés, telecenters, workplaces, etc.) will reach 111 million.2

We can analyze the Internet’s vertiginous development in Latin America, as well as elsewhere, by observing the evolution of its different applications and their direct impact on user behavior. Platforms such as Amazon, Ebay, Mercado Libre, Facebook, My Space, Blogger, Flickr, iTunes, Picasa, and YouTube, among others, have generated profound changes in the ways we conduct commercial transactions, how we communicate with each other and how we access entertainment. For example, 13 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute3

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Tags: ICT, Internet regulation, Latin America, Pedro Less Andrade, User-Generated content
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