The discussion started by delineating the research project, describing how it seeks to evaluate potential legal responses to threats to journalism in the digital environment. Particular attention has been paid to copyright. This is because much has happened in copyright: there have been a number of copyright-related developments in a variety of different countries which have been justified with reference to the need to protect the position of news publishers.
A variety of questions were posed to start with. There has been lot of analysis and comment in this field, and so the questions posed were selective, rather than comprehensive. They included whether there are sufficient difficulties in the news industry to merit intervention; whether commercial journalism – as opposed to publicly funded, or subsidised journalism – is necessary; whether the commercial journalistic sector is viable, given the technological changes that have undermined its business models; and whether legal intervention by means of copyright and related rights would be effective in providing help to commercial journalism – if such help were needed and merited.