Newcastle Law School

Staff Profile

Dr Daithi Mac Sithigh

Reader in Law


I joined the Newcastle Law School as a Reader in July 2014, and served as Director of Research until December 2016. Previously, I held lectureships at the University of East Anglia (UEA) (2008-2012) and the University of Edinburgh (2012-14), where I was also head of the IP, Media & Technology subject area.  I studied at Trinity College Dublin (LLB and PhD), the Open University (PG Cert Social Science) and UEA (PG Cert Higher Education).

During 2017, I am also serving as the Associate Dean for Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences, splitting my time between this role and my School role. I am normally in the Law School in the earlier part of the week; feedback, guidance and consultation hours for current students are 9-11 on Mondays and 9-10 on Tuesdays, but I'm happy to meet students at other times (best to check availability in advance).

My interests fall into two broad categories. The first is law and technology (including topics such as audiovisual media law, the regulation of the video games industry, and Internet infrastructure and domain names), and the second is public law (especially in relation to languages). I'm a member of CREATe, the centre for copyright and new business models in the creative economy (funded by Research Councils UK), where I worked on three projects. In the past, I was a member of the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy (UEA). I also have an interest in higher education, and have worked with Prof. Mathias Siems (Durham) on the topic of legal research.

I currently teach public law and media law on the LLB, and e-commerce on the LLM. I am a fellow of the Higher Education Academy.

Outside Newcastle University, I hold a number of posts.  I am a member of the Editorial Advisory Board of the Society for Computers and Law, co-editor of the Dublin University Law Journal, book reviews editor of the International Journal of Law and Information Technology, and a member of the editorial board of Communications Law. I am currently an external examiner at the University of Leeds, Queen Mary University of London, and the University of Sunderland, and a member of the Advisory Board to the Information Law & Policy Centre . I was convenor for media and communications law in the Society of Legal Scholars from 2011-2014, and co-edited special editions of the journal SCRIPT-ed in 2013 and 2014 and the Journal of Media Law in 2015. I am a panelist for the UDRP dispute resolution mechanism for Internet domain names, provided by the Czech Arbitration Court. Finally, I am a member of the AHRC's Peer Review College and the Irish Research Council's Outer and Inner Assessment Boards.

I have been writing an academic blog, Lex Ferenda, since 2006.  I sometimes tweet (@macsithigh), mostly links relating to my research and teaching interests, and occasionally write for The Conversation. In 2011, I gave evidence to the Leveson Inquiry, and I am happy to receive media queries on matters relating to Internet and media law. I have also carried out consultancy work for Google and, as part of the Scottish Centre for International Law, the OECD.


A full list of my publications can be found at the 'Publications' tab, above. My research interests are in law and technology and in public law. I primarily publish in law journals, but some of my work also appears in publications in the field of media and cultural studies.

Here are some of my current and recent projects.

"Medium law"

A major theme of recent work has been the platform-specific regulation of audiovisual media. My book on the subject, Medium Law, will be published by Routledge in autumn 2017. At the heart of this project is my engagement with the work of what is informally referred to as the Toronto School of Communication, particularly Harold Innis. Some related thoughts are found in a chapter on the right to communicate in the Routledge Handbook of Media Law. On medium-specific regulation, recent work includes an article on cinema and film law in the UK in Legal Studies (December 2014) and a paper on broadcast radio at the Society of Legal Scholars annual conference (September 2015). I have been working on the topic of video-on-demand, building on earlier work; I presented drafts at the WG Hart workshop on media law and the Television Studies section of ECREA; the result appears in the Journal of British Cinema and Television in 2017. Earlier on, I received a small grant from the British Academy in 2012 for some pilot work on media regulation, including data analysis and archival research.


I am a member of CREATe, the centre for copyright and new business models in the creative economy (funded by Research Councils UK). I was principal investigator on the 'Games and Transmedia' project, where I worked with Dr. Keith M. Johnston (School of Art, Media and American Studies, UEA) and Dr. Tom Phillips (Interdisciplinary Institute for the Humanities, UEA). We held workshops with a selection of participants from the games and television industries, and also carried out a survey of gamers. Our main focus was on the impact of legal (and to some extent financial matters on the development of new business models. This meant discussion of intellectual property (especially 'cloning'), tax relief, relations between different industries, and consumer law. The academic results of the project are being published (e.g. 'Multiplayer games' in the European Journal of Law and Technology, a chapter in the Research handbook on intellectual property in media and entertainment (Edward Elgar 2016)) and we are also preparing a good practices guide for a wider audience. I spoke about this project at the first Develop Live conference in Edinburgh in October 2014, Tom and I presented papers at the DiGRA Annual Conference 2015 in Lueneburg, Germany, and most recently, I participated in the fourth Global Congress on IP and the Public Interest, speaking about video games in a panel on emerging business models. A summary of the project can be found (in poster form!) at the CREATe website.

In CREATe, I also work with Dr. Emily Laidlaw (University of Calgary) on the 'Human Rights and Public Interest' project, where (along with research associate Yin Harn Lee) we are researching the impact of copyright law on human rights (especially freedom of expression).. In 2015, I presented our work in progress to the IP/IT/Media discussion group at the University of Edinburgh, and Emily and I gave a paper at the Law and Society Association's annual conference, 'A new framework for freedom of expression in copyright law". We held a workshop with academics and stakeholders at the Information Law & Policy Centre (London) in 2016, and our recommendations were presented at the CREATe festival in 2016.

Legal research

I work with Prof. Mathias Siems (Durham University) on legal research and education. Our first piece, 'Mapping Legal Research', was published in the Cambridge Law Journal in 2012. We have contributed a chapter to an edited collection (in press), where we present the results of a survey of five law schools on methods of legal research; drafts were presented at a workshop at the European University Institute in 2014 and at the Law and Society Association's 2015 conference. I am currently writing a chapter on the evaluation of legal research in the UK, for a forthcoming collection (editors Profs. Andreas Lienhard (Bern) and Rob van Gestel (Tilburg)).

Internet law more generally

My most recent publication on this topic is on contempt of court and social media; it is in press and will appear in 2017 in a book edited by David Mangan and Lorna Gillies on social media and the law. Other recent work includes a review of legislation on IT issues under the 2010-15 Coalition government, published in SCRIPTed.


My interests in media/technology and in public law overlap in my work on languages, with my earlier work being on multilingualism and the Internet (e.g. International Journal of Law and Information Technology, 2010). I have more recently presented work in progress at the Constitutional Law Discussion Group and the Soillse seminar series, both in Edinburgh), on official language status and on minority-language broadcasting, respectively. The latter paper was published in 2015 in the Journal of Media Law and the former is being prepared for publication.

Consumer and competition law

Until 2012, I was a member of the ESRC Centre for Competition Policy (UEA). This influenced my work on net neutrality and my 2013 IJLIT article on the governance of app stores (particularly Apple's iOS store).


I am a member of the Public Law (stage 1 undergraduate) teaching team, and have previously served as module convenor.   I lecture on various issues - this year (16/17), that will be  (a) devolution and (b) judicial review.

I also teach on the LLM (postgraduate) programmes. I am module organiser for The Law of E-Commerce (LAW8564, semester 1) and previously taught Legal Research Skills and Methods (LAW8090).

Tom Bennett and I teach a stage 3 optional module in Media Law. My contribution (semester 2) covers court reporting, media regulation (TV/radio/film), pluralism, and new media.

In previous posts, I have taught a range of other courses, including telecommunications (Edinburgh), international IP (Edinburgh), and copyright in the creative industries (East Anglia). I have also taught on the PARTNERS assessed summer school for Law applicants at Newcastle.