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About two and half years ago, I wrote a blog post on shifting baseline effects in assessing copyright regulation. My main argument was that a large proportion of researchers, practitioners and regulators cannot even envision how the much less restrictive intellectual property regimes of the past have worked because what we perceive to be a “natural level” of protection has changed.

Today, XKCD provides a great illustration of the concept of shifting baselines more generally by commenting on the recent debates on cold weather in spite of global warming:




A recurrent topic across most fields covered here at governance across borders is standards. In the field of environmental standards, for example, Olga repeatedly discussed how transnational standards and local practices are interrelated (e.g. “From Transnational Standards to Local Practices“). In the field of copyright regulation, many posts deal with the issue of standard proliferation (e.g. “Money Buys You Standards?“) and diffusion (e.g. “Iconic Standards: Regulating and Signaling“) in the case of Creative Commons.

But as always, at least in our recurrent series “Wise Cartoons“, all our words cannot live up to the simple wisdom of illustrations such as the one provided by XKCD below:

Fortunately, the charging one has been solved now that we've all standardized on mini-USB. Or is it micro-USB? Shit.


PS: For another wise cartoon on standards that features Scott Adam’s Dilbert check out “Google Books and the Kindle Controversy“.

The Book

Governance across borders: transnational fields and transversal themes. Leonhard Dobusch, Philip Mader and Sigrid Quack (eds.), 2013, epubli publishers.
January 2023

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