The recent Making Law for Media forum brought together top thought leaders in law, technology and innovation. Here’s what they had to say about some of the challenges facing the industry and what’s next on the legal frontier.

4 min read

This year’s edition of the “Making Law for Media: Trending Topics with Industry Leaders” event brought together some of the best and brightest minds in law, media and technology. Hosted by IE Law School, invited guests dissected some of the most interesting issues emerging in law, IP and tech. Leading companies including Spotify, PRISA Brand Solutions, Hiberus, Havas Media Group and Monoceros LABS participated in the forum.

The forum featured two roundtable discussions, each featuring participants from across the sector, who offered their own insights and opinions firstly on AI and New Business models, then on Audio and Podcasts. Students from the Master of Laws (LL.M.) program were also in attendance, taking advantage of this opportunity to hear from industry experts and do some networking.

A critical time in the media industry

In his opening statements, IE Law School professor Javier Muñoz explained that the media industry is currently going through its most transformational moment ever. It’s a period that has profound implications; according to Javier, the changing face of media is driving the evolution of society. Innovation, he said, is racing ahead at a fast pace and changing every facet of modern life—revolutionizing how we live, work and connect.

Javier is certainly well-placed to comment. Apart from his work at IE University, he is the general counsel at PRISA Media and chief legal officer of PRISA Radio. And his guests for the AI and New Business discussion were drawn from several leading media organizations. For the first roundtable, panelists Javier was joined by Sonia Paz, Digital & Business Transformation Officer of Havas Group; the chief information officer at Xalok-Hiberus Media Labs David Sancha; and José Gutierrez, chief solutions, digital & technology officer for PRISA.

According to Sonia, traditional models of advertising are losing the power to influence buyer behavior. Instead, more and more people are now relying on user-generated content on digital platforms to drive their spending decisions. José agreed, citing the increasing use of algorithms to shape your choices. While still in their infancy, these algorithms are already powerful enough to sift through vast amounts of data about you, ensuring that you receive highly specific marketing offers.

The case for regulating tech

However, problems arise when corporations sell the data they collect about you to other entities. How can your rights as a user—such as privacy, or the right to be forgotten—remain protected in this scenario? For David, the solution lies somewhere at the intersection of media and technology.

Regulation is a vital ingredient in this mix too. Right now, the law is lagging far behind the rapid pace of innovation in the industry. This was a cause for concern for the panelists, especially considering the more complex issues likely to arise from emerging disruptions such as the metaverse and New Business models taking over the space.

Javier offered the view that this makes the perfect case for an ethical approach to tech regulation. As algorithms become an increasingly large part of our lives, we must ask: who owns the data—users or corporations? Where does social responsibility come in? And, with the rise of AI, what happens when we eliminate the human element from tech? For our panelists, these questions spell out the biggest challenges ahead for current and future lawmakers.

A new framework for audio

After a short break, the second roundtable discussion was moderated by Ceyhun Pehlivan—IE Law School adjunct professor and managing associate leading TMT & IP at Linklaters. Among the panelists were Nieves Abalos, cofounder and chief product officer of Monoceros Labs; the deputy general manager and general counsel at PRISA, Pablo Fernández; and Eduardo Alonso, head of studios for Southern and Eastern Europe at Spotify.

Drawing on his extensive experience in the field, Pablo confirmed that the podcast industry has changed dramatically in the last few years. However, while it’s become easier to build a popular platform based solely on audio, he said he regards the lack of a legal framework regulating this industry as quite concerning.

Eduardo went further, offering Spotify as an example. He said that the main challenges facing the audio streaming and media giant arise from issues of ownership and control. “Who controls the third-party content it distributes?” he asked. “When it comes to music, who owns the records and who controls the music rights? This makes the question of IP rights even more complicated.”

A highly fragmented system of international rights and territorial protection, coupled with a lack of legal mechanisms to address these issues, further contributes to this complexity. Add to this the rise of unregulated algorithms and the misuse of AI technology—the generation of “deep fakes,” for example—and you have what the panel described as a ticking time bomb. For Ceyhun, the only answer lies in proactive and innovative legislation—both at the local and international levels.

Towards a new frontier

The event turned out to be an enriching experience for all involved. Master of Laws (LL.M.) student Mirian Rodrigo left the forum feeling hopeful for the future, saying, “The media forum was an incredible opportunity to learn about the present of Media, but also about the future opportunities for lawyers and professionals in the field. We were able to hear about very interesting topics such as AI and the New Business models within media. Audio and Podcast was also a very important and interesting part of the forum, since they’re growing very fast and bring fascinating legal questions that we were able to discuss.”

In the end, the panelists agreed that tech and media have an ethical responsibility to protect their users. Technology might be the new frontier, but the power to control it remains in our hands.