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Authors

URS GASSER

Abstract

Since the creation of the first pre-Web Internet search engines in the early 1990s, search engines have become almost as important as email as a primary online activity. Arguably, search engines are among the most important gatekeepers in today's digitally networked environment. Thus, it does not come as a surprise that the evolution of search technology and the diffusion of search engines have been accompanied by a series of conflicts among stakeholders such as search operators, content creators, consumers/users, activists, and governments. While few tussles existed in the initial phase of innovation where Internet search engines were mainly used by 'techies' and academics, substantial conflicts emerged once the technology got out of the universities and entered the commercial space. When search technology advanced and search services gained commercial significance, these conflicts became more severe and made their way into the legal arena. At the core of most of these disputes were controversies over intellectual property, particularly trademark and copyright issues.

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