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Controlling the new media: hybrid responses to new forms of power

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The development of new media industries, stimulated by the technology of digitalisation, has thrown up an important literature on mechanisms for regulation and control. In this article we elaborate on and develop Lawrence Lessig's 'modalities of regulation' analysis. As we reconceive them the four basic control forms are premised upon hierarchy, competition, community and design and can be deployed in fifteen pure and hybrid forms. This analysis is enriched through elaborating on the essential elements of control systems (standard–setting, monitoring and behaviour modification) to demonstrate the importance and variety of hybrid forms that real–world control systems take in the new media domains. Although the article does not provide any universal prescriptions as to which control forms are likely to be most appropriate in particular domains, it does provide a richer analytical base both for understanding existing control mechanisms and the potential for using greater variety. The development of regulatory regimes which are both legitimate and effective in any given domain is likely to require sensitivity to the particular context and culture of both the domain and the jurisdiction within which it is located.

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