February 28, 2009


As I well recall from the birth of my first child and as any new father knows, the amount of pride one feels in a new issue does not always relate to the level of one’s contribution. I am particularly proud of this issue of the magazine and that pride is in no way dimmed by the fact that the difficult part – the nurturing over a lengthy gestation period, and possibly even the morning sickness – was taken on by another.

This issue is dominated by a series of articles of very high quality. They arise from the SCL Forum entitled ‘Legislating for Web 2.0 – Preparing for the Communications Act?’, which was convened and steered by Chris Marsden, Director of the  LL.M. in IT Media E-Commerce Law at the University of Essex Law School, and chaired by Mark Turner, a partner at Herbert Smith LLP, who also contributed hugely to the conception and realisation of the Forum. Not content with having taken lead responsibility for the Forum, Chris went on to chivvy and nag with a view to gathering together contributions from the participants. He did my job for me (and had a good deal more success in getting authors to meet deadlines than I normally do). I am enormously grateful and genuinely delighted with the product.

The articles come from leading thinkers and represent an important contribution to the debate on a range of legislative issues. The authors represent a wide range of interests and jurisdictions and, with so many reports and consultations affecting the Internet, the articles will inform the coming discussions – discussions that are already attracting mainstream attention and which will sorely need expert points of reference.

I especially like the fact that the authors have updated and added to the content that formed the basis of their presentations in September, recognising current realities and priorities. But the main source of pride is that these pieces will be referred to time and again and bring academic thought to a wider audience. I know these pieces will be referred to and views will be influenced by them because I already find that I have referred to them and ‘stolen’ from them. It seems to be expected that I will have views on the IT law issues that shape our lives and it is a relief to say that my views on intermediary liability, the appeal of ‘future-proofing’ and many other issues have now crystallised. If I have not always agreed with the authors, they have certainly all made me think. I am sure these articles will make you think too and, in extremis, you may like to borrow some of the arguments too.


The handful of SCL members who actually remember what is contained in my editorials may well be wondering what happened to the new SCL Web site. In the last issue, I encouraged SCL members to use its interactive features and promised that sometime in January you would see the new site. It has yet to emerge but is now expected to launch in mid February.

I am genuinely sorry to have misled. It has taken a little longer to iron out the wrinkles than was expected at the time of the last issue – like a non-iron shirt, it needed a bit of manual intervention before being fit for party wear.
By the time you read this, I sincerely hope that the revamped site will be in full flow. Among other delights are a Trustees’ Blog, which looks promising, and an Editor’s Blog – I have already begun to write for the latter and I hope that you will respond with comments, on that and on the contents of this issue.

Laurence Eastham