Regulating Content on Social Media by
Dr Corinne Tan

Dr Corinne Tan asks the audience: “Do you post photos on Instagram which you have not taken yourself?”

How often do you repost a photograph on Instagram? Or share someone else’s article on Facebook?

Dr Corinne Tan '06 returned to her alma mater on Wednesday 14 November to talk about "Regulating Content on Social Media" at NUS Law at a seminar organised by the EW Barker Centre for Law & Business (EWBCLB), based on her recently published monograph.

Speaking in a 40-minute presentation, she shared the topic with over 50 participants made up of members of the legal fraternity and students. Dr Tan comments that many social media platforms such as Instagram, YouTube and Facebook actually “nudges” an individual user to commit acts of copyright infringement by sharing photographs, videos and stories. Dr Tan, an internet governance specialist, compares copyright laws on selected social media platforms, namely Facebook, Pinterest, YouTube, Twitter and Wikipedia, with other regulatory factors such as the terms of service and the technological features of each platform.

This comparison enables her to explore how each platform affects the role copyright laws play in securing compliance from their users. Through a case study detailing the content generative activities undertaken by a hypothetical user named Jane Doe, as well as drawing from empirical studies, the book argues that – in spite of copyright’s purported regulation of certain behaviours – users are 'nudged' by the social media platforms themselves to behave in ways that may be inconsistent with copyright laws.

Mr Mark Lim '94 (Director (Hearings & Mediation) from the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS) joined her with his perceptive comments on third-party liability, in particular that of internet service providers and social media platforms, for the posting of infringing content by individual users.

Professor David Tan (Vice Dean (Academic Affairs), NUS Law and Director (Intellectual Property), EWBCLB) chaired the session, and also discussed the possible liability of the defendants in some ongoing litigation in the United States, involving well-known personalities Richard Prince and Jessica Simpson.

Free download of Dr Corinne Tan's monograph, published by UCL Press, is available here.

About the Speaker

Dr Corinne Tan is a Sessional Lecturer and Honorary Fellow at the Melbourne Law School. She currently teaches Legal Ethics in the Juris Doctor programme.

Corinne is an internet governance, intellectual property and media law researcher. In particular, she is interested in exploring the intersection of law and technology on new media platforms, as well as the contextual factors that affect the effectiveness of various laws on the behaviours of regulatees. She has published widely in international law journals. Her monograph ‘Regulating Content on Social Media – Copyright, Terms of Service and Technological Features’ was published by UCL Press in March 2018.

Corinne holds a PhD and LLM from the Melbourne Law School, as well as a LLB from the National University of Singapore. She has taught in Singapore and in Melbourne since 2012. She was called to the Singapore Bar in 2007 and practised as a lawyer for many years.

About the Commentator

Mark Lim is Senior Faculty at IP Academy, and Director/Chief Legal Counsel of the Hearings and Mediation Department at the Intellectual Property Office of Singapore (IPOS).

Prior to joining IPOS in 2010, Mark was a lawyer in private practice for 15 years. At his last firm, a medium-sized law firm in Singapore, he established and headed the IP, Media & Entertainment Department. Mark's work encompassed all areas of intellectual property law, including both contentious as well as non-contentious IP matters.

Mark was the Vice-Chairman for the Singapore Law Society’s IP Committee for several years until he joined IPOS. He has published many articles in both local and international journals, including the Singapore Academy of Law Journal, European Intellectual Property Review, Journal of International Arbitration, Copyright World and Trademark World. He is also a co-author of the volume on IP in Halsbury’s Laws of Singapore. He has been recognised as a leading IP lawyer in a number of international publications.

About the Chairperson

Professor David Tan holds a PhD from Melbourne Law School, a LLM from Harvard, and graduated with a LLB (First Class Honours)/BCom from the University of Melbourne. He has taught courses at Melbourne Law School (Intellectual Property & Popular Culture; Constitutional Law) and University of Hong Kong, Faculty of Law (Entertainment Law). David was formerly with the Singapore Administrative Service, serving as Director of Sports at Ministry of Community Development, Youth & Sports (MCYS) and Director of International Talent at Ministry of Manpower (MOM). In the area of law, he has published in a diverse range of journals such as the Harvard Journal of Sports & Entertainment Law, Yale Journal of International Law, Sydney Law Review, Law Quarterly Review, Media & Arts Law Review, Singapore Journal of Legal Studies, Torts Law Journal and Australian Intellectual Property Journal. In 2017, David launched his monograph The Commercial Appropriation of Fame on celebrity personality rights published by Cambridge University Press.

David is also an accomplished fine art fashion photographer having published a coffeetable book Visions of Beauty in association with Versace, and "Tainted Perfection" in collaboration with Cartier in Singapore. His works have appeared in Vanity Fair, Harper's Bazaar, Marie Claire and The New Yorker.

From left: Mr Mark Lim (Director/Chief Legal Counsel, IPOS (Hearings and Mediation)), Dr Corinne Tan (Sessional Lecturer and Honorary Fellow, Melbourne Law School) and Professor David Tan (Vice Dean (Academic Affairs), NUS Law).

Professor David Tan introducing the book by Dr Corinne Tan, titled “Regulating Content On Social Media: Copyright, Terms Of Service And Technological Features”.

Speaker Dr Corinne Tan presenting her views on regulating content on social media.

Professor David Tan addressing the audience

Amongst the audience, Deputy Attorney-General Mr Lionel Yee Woon Chin, SC. sitting next to Dr Corinne Tan.