Personal Profile

My name is Benjamin Farrand, and I am currently concluding my PhD thesis at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, which focuses on the potential of harmonisation of EU law relating to digital media distribution markets. As such, the PhD focuses on copyright law and competition law, but also encompasses aspects of law and economics and political science methodology and analysis.  The thesis, supervised by Professor Giovanni Sartor, was started in September 2008, and will be defended by November 2011.  The thesis, "The Pan-European Licensing of Digital Music: - The Effect of the Harmonisation of Copyright and the Role of Collecting Societies", sought to determine whether the legislative efforts of the European Union institutions would be able to effectively remove the territorial partitions to the market for digital media distribution within the EU area.  Ultimately, the thesis determined that the opposite was the case; rather than bringing down the artificial fences raised around digital content, EU legislation quite often resulted in the reinforcement of those fences.  Furthermore, the legislative acts were increasingly restrictive in nature, resulting in a situation where copyright legislation can be seen to be detrimental not only to consumers, but also to the interests of creative artists.

Prior to beginning a PhD, I completed my Bachelor of Laws Degree at the University of Sheffield in 2005, and was awarded a 2:1 degree in European, International and Comparative Law.  In 2006, I was awarded a Masters Degree in Commercial Law at the same institution, for which I was awarded a Masters with Distinction.  My Masters dissertation, entitled "Digital Rights Management: - one right at the cost of another?" discussed the extent to which Digital Rights Management (DRM) technology encroaches upon the rights of consumers, and how the technology can be used in ways which could easily be classified as criminal conduct.  This dissertation was awarded a first class grade, and recommended for publication.  After completing the Masters degree, I worked on behalf of Cambridge University in Warsaw, Poland, for a year, teaching English and European law.  The course comprised weekly lectures and seminars in Warsaw, coupled with offering distance learning seminars throughout the rest of Poland and Central Europe, with seminars being given in Bratislava, Bucharest, Budapest, Prague and Sofia.  This highly-challenging and rewarding work also involved preparing and marking examination material and assisting in the development of course materials in the field of Intellectual Property and Competition Law.  Upon completion of the year's course, I then moved to Florence to begin the PhD at the European University Institute in 2008, and was awarded a Masters in International, European and Comparative Law in 2009.  In 2010, I spent a semester at the University of Vienna as a Visiting Researcher, working with Professor Erich Schweighofer on the publishing of a book of collected articles on the subject of law, technology and society.

I also have begun to write a blog on the subject of law, technology and society, which discusses a range of issues, ranging from copyright reform, issues of privacy and censorship online, as well as occasionally offering legal and sociological critique on current events.  The blog, 'Digital Discontent' can be found on

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  • LLB in European, International and Comparative Law (Sheffield)
  • LLM in Commercial Law (Sheffield)
  • LLM in European, International and Comparative Law (EUI)
  • European Certificate on Cyber-crime and Electronic Evidence (European Commission)

Field of Research

  • Critical legal studies
  • Law and technology
  • Intellectual Property
  • Competition Law and Policy
  • Criminalisation and criminology