About the Committee
The Communications Law Committee is a leading global forum for legal practitioners with specialist expertise or interest in the communications sector.
The Committee offers members access to a worldwide network of leading practitioners, in-house counsel and regulators active in digital, communications and media markets.
We encourage the sharing of sectoral expertise through regular publication of articles, periodic issues of our technical journal, the annual committee conference hosted jointly with IBA Antitrust Section, and specialised sessions at the IBA Annual Conference.
The scope of the Committee’s work covers network, service and content-related developments across all delivery platforms. This provides members with access to practical global perspectives on the array of technological, commercial and policy issues which confront communications lawyers, their companies and clients.
- • A comparative review of functional separation as a structural remedy in telecommunications markets around the world;
- • the regulatory implications of local access fibre deployments and the impact on the business models of network operators and service providers;
- • the risks and opportunities for operators looking to capitalise on investment in IP-based platforms by moving down the value chain into a fragmented media marketplace;
- • the unique character of emerging and developing communications markets and what this means for transactions, opportunities and regulatory policy in those markets;
- • regulatory issues associated with market developments such as fixed-mobile substitution, Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Video on Demand (VoD) and Television over Internet Protocol (IPTV), user-generated content, digital switchover, mobile broadband and unified communications;
- • the new and important legal developments occurring in communications markets at the interface between regulation, antitrust and the web; and
- • the function of global standards (including the evolution of new wireless and IP standards) and the function and regulation of standards bodies.
Forthcoming conferences and webinars View all conferences and webinars
The Committee organises many activities throughout the year, providing members with invaluable opportunities to keep abreast of the latest developments in communications and digital law, share practical insights, and network with in-house and private practice lawyers as well as with regulators.
Annual Communications and Competition Law Conference
In cooperation with the Antitrust Section, the Communications Law Committee organise the very popular annual Communications and Competition Law Conference, which is a two-day conference addressing regulatory and industry developments in the areas of communications and antitrust law.
A hallmark of the conference is that it provides a forum for industry regulators, thought leaders and leading practitioners to discuss how they see communications and antitrust law evolving to address topical issues such as infrastructure sharing, internet of things (loT), 5G rollouts, ‘virtual’ competition issues raised by the digital economy and consolidation as well as antitrust challenges in dealing with new technology players.
The conference has been highly popular, and in 2019 we celebrated the 30th anniversary of its inauguration.
Annual IBA Conference
The Committee hosts various panel sessions on communications law issues and lead, chair, contribute or participate in sessions with other committees at the 2020 IBA Annual conference in Miami, with topics including the signature ‘round-the-tables’ event.
We have established working groups focused on particular topics for members to be more involved in areas of their specialisation and interest, so they may discuss and interact with peers on emerging issues and also support engagement with members at meetings, conferences and in other initiatives.
We have two working groups covering the following topic areas:
Digital Economy & Communications
This working group focuses on the legal and regulatory challenges raised by the digital economy (AI, algorithms, blockchain, etc). It also focuses on the evolution of the internet value-chain and the increased competition stemming from (and potential regulation of) platforms, tech and data companies.
- Regulating the Disruptors? Shaping EU Communications and Media Regulation and EU Competition Policy in a New Digitalised Era
A report on the status of the regulation of the digital economy in the EU. April 2019.
Data & Communications
This working group focuses on the intersection of the regulation of data and communications. It covers issues such as privacy for communications, Big Data, access to data and communications, personal/non-personal data regulation, cybersecurity and the free flow of data/data localisation.
- Data localisation guide: A report on global data isolationism
The purpose of this publication is to provide a tool comparing the data localisation regimes that exist in various countries around the world.
The Committee is involved in the Intellectual Property, Communications and Technology Law Section programme for planning a scholarship for a young lawyer with a topical subject.
The Committee are proud to also be involved in many important IBA projects such as the United Nations sponsored UN-GGIM Project on Global Geospatial Information Management and the IBA Task Force on Government Access to IT Systems.
Privacy and data protection rules should not be an obstacle in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic. Nevertheless, users’ safeguards should be upheld: this is the basic assumption that should guide national authorities currently facing the Covid-19 emergency, who are looking for technological instruments to make their actions more effective (such as access and treatment of citizens’ personal data, and the use of tracing applications).
Released on Mar 26, 2020
As the global community struggled to contain the Covid-19 pandemic throughout 2020, various international governments incorporated new data-driven technologies within their suite of regulatory tools to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
The Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM) has initiated proceedings for online copyright infringement on the application of publishing industry rights holders. The applicants claimed that public channels on the instant messaging platform illegally made thousands of journalistic and literary works from their catalogues available for downloading. AGCOM’s moral persuasion proved pertinent, as Telegram spontaneously removed them. Most recently, emergency legislation has introduced new provisions expanding A
Chile: digital economy developments and challenges during the Covid-19 pandemic, from a TMT law perspective
There is no doubt that the digital economy – also known as the new economy, the web economy, or the internet economy – is now part of our concrete reality and has become essential to the global economy. Its exponential growth over the past few months has been greatly boosted by the Covid-19 pandemic, which has compelled people to depend more than ever on electronic communications. This boost has however, required tenacious efforts from public and private entities to eliminate and/or reduce barriers posed b
By a decision dated 15 September 2020, the Court of Justice of the European Union has confirmed that zero-rating practices are banned under Regulation 2015/2120, the Regulation that introduced net neutrality provisions into the EU framework.
Covid-19 pandemic: Communications Law Committee survey responses
April 2021: The IBA Communications Law Committee has published the initial results from its global survey exploring tracking mobile applications and data protection in the context of the Covid-19 pandemic. The results and associated commentary can be downloaded below.
Even as the much needed rollout of vaccines progresses, and we enter a world of 'vaccine passports', contact tracing will remain a critical aspect of government efforts to contain the pandemic. Therefore the IBA Communications Law Committee will continue to update the survey results and commentary over time. Members are encouraged to continue participating by reporting on the Covid-19 tracing apps and data protection issues relevant to your country.
Brendan Carr, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission - keynote address
Brendan Carr, Commissioner of the Federal Communications Commission, addresses delegates of the 30th Annual IBA Communications and Competition Conference, April 2019, Milan
Subcommittees and other groups
The Communications Law Committee also coordinates the activities of the following subcommittees/working groups.
- Communications Law Committee Advisory Board