Thesis Title
Private enforcement and liability exemption for online contents under the EU legal framework: from the perspective of domain name registries

Research Description
As an intermediary operating in the infrastructure layer of the Internet, domain name registries are distant to website contents and have no incentives to play an active role in tackling harmful online contents. However, under increasing pressure from governments and interested parties to tackle rampant harmful online contents, domain name registries have performed legislative, executive and judicial functions by voluntarily introducing and implementing internal regulations about user’s speech and privacy. Paradoxically, it is uncertain whether domain name registries are still considered as neutral and therefore can enjoy the liability exemption privilege when voluntarily adopting measures against online contents. A qualm about losing safe harbors may lead to domain name registries taking down more contents, regardless of how their action may impact fundamental rights. In consideration of the trend towards private ordering by domain name registries and vague relevant liability regime, the thesis aims to shed light on the domain name registries’ eligibility for liability exemption for online contents when they take self-regulated measures against such contents.

Ha graduated from Ho Chi Minh City of Law as a Bachelor of Laws. Having worked in a top-tier law firm, she assisted tech behemoth and rising start-ups in drafting terms of service and internal policies and provided advice on compliance with Internet laws. Moreover, she had hands-on experience in intellectual property enforcement both in brick-and-mortar business and in the virtual world, domain name registration and dispute resolution. Her research interests are IP law, Internet law and the intersection of law and technology. Ha is currently a MPhil candidate at the University of Melbourne, carrying out research under the supervision of Professors Megan Richardson and Andrew Christie.

Prof Megan Richardson, University of Melbourne