The challenge of evidence-based intellectual property law reform: Legal pragmatism meets doctrinal legal reasoning


Intellectual property (IP) is an important instrument of innovation, cultural and growth policies. A key trend in the quest for "?better"? IP lawmaking is to base policies and their elaboration into effective legal norms on empirical (economic) evidence. Today'?s IP laws, however, are still the result of a more doctrinal approach, giving consideration primarily to coherence and formal consistency with legal-theoretical foundations. Arguably, an increased focus on evidence-based policy requires a more legal pragmatic approach to IP lawmaking. This research explores how a legal pragmatic approach can best be reconciled with the prevailing doctrinal approach to IP lawmaking in a way that combines the strengths of both approaches, and curtails their weaknesses. In so doing, the research aims to improve the quality of IP lawmaking and further the progress and development of IP law.

To identify and assess ways in which evidence-based lawmaking can be integrated in IP reform, I will situate evidence-based policy in conflicting theories and practices of legal doctrinalism and pragmatism in IP law. This requires comparative legal research and a multidisciplinary literature review. Furthermore, I will conduct two IP case studies to analyze doctrinal and pragmatic legal reasoning at work and hold qualitative interviews with IP lawmakers to assess what challenges they encounter bringing evidence-based lawmaking in practice. The research will not only contribute to the theoretical foundations of evidence-based IP lawmaking, but also benefit IP lawmakers, creative industries and other actors involved in the IP lawmaking process through the development of guidelines and best practices for implementing evidence-based policy in IP lawmaking.

My previous academic work on copyright reform, extensive international academic and policy network and experience with IP lawmaking as secretary to the Dutch government?s advisory committee on copyright (Commissie Auteursrecht) provide me with a solid basis to carry out this research successfully.


Chapter in book

Scientific article

Publications for the general public

  • S.J. van Gompel(2015): ‘Geoblocking en de Europese plannen voor een digitale interne markt’
  • S.J. van Gompel(2015): Pragmatism in Dutch copyright history: A short introduction to the Dutch section of the Primary Sources project
  • S.J. van Gompel(2016): Legal pragmatism in nineteenth-century intellectual property lawmaking: A case study of the 1869 patent abolition in the Netherlands
  • S.J. van Gompel(2016): Geschiedenis en gedachten achter het octrooirecht en auteursrecht
  • S.J. van Gompel(2016): Response to Kara Swanson’s comments and discussion of my paper on the 1869 patent abolition in the Netherlands
  • S.J. van Gompel(2016): ‘Ancillary copyright and internet freedom’
  • S.J. van Gompel(2016): Being pragmatic: Copyright lawmaking in an evidence-based world
  • S.J. van Gompel(2017): ‘How to reconcile evidence-based policy with prevailing doctrinal norms in copyright reform’
  • S.J. van Gompel(2017): Creativiteit & “value gap” op het internet
  • S.J. van Gompel(2017): 'Neighbouring right for publishers'
  • G. Frosio, V. Moscon, M. Senftleben, C.J. Angelopoulos, M. Peguera, O.-A. Rognstad(2017): “The Recommendation on Measures to Safeguard Fundamental Rights and the Open Internet in the Framework of the EU Copyright Reform”
  • S.J. van Gompel(2017): De waarde van het nieuws
  • S.J. van Gompel(2017): The EU Copyright Reform Package
  • M. Kretschmer(2017): “EU Copyright Reform Proposals Unfit for the Digital Age”
  • S.J. van Gompel(2017): What is the value of news?
  • S.J. van Gompel(2017): The need for evidence-based copyright reform in the digital era
  • S.J. van Gompel(2017): ‘Bridging the “value gap”? Some academic concerns with the proposed art. 13 DSM-Directive’
  • S.J. van Gompel(2018): ‘Kan Facebook zomaar dingen kopiëren?’
  • S.J. van Gompel(2018): Uitgeversrecht
  • S.J. van Gompel(2018): ‘Toekomst van het auteursrecht’
  • S. Stalla-Bourdillon, S.J. van Gompel, L. Bently, C.J. Angelopoulos, M. Senftleben, M. Kretschmer, M. Husovec(2018): “The Copyright Directive: Misinformation and Independent Enquiry”
  • S.J. van Gompel(2018): Making and Using Evidence in Advocacy
  • S.J. van Gompel(2018): Empirical Approaches to Copyright Research: Results, Gaps, Next Steps
  • S.J. van Gompel(2018): Een eigen recht voor uitgevers van perspublicaties - artikel 11 voorgestelde CDSM-richtlijn
  • S.J. van Gompel(2018): Putting the public interest at the heart of IP law/policy reforms: Strategies and Best Practices
  • M. Kretschmer(2018): “Vote for a balanced European copyright law”
  • S.J. van Gompel(2018): Public Interest Perspectives on EU Copyright Reform: Ancillary Right for Press Publishers
  • M.M.M. van Eechoud, M. Ricolfi, R. Xalabarder(2018): “Academics against Press Publishers’ Right: 169 European Academics warn against it”
  • S.J. van Gompel(2018): Copyright Directive 2030: what kind of internet will we have in Europe if the current Directive passes?
  • S.J. van Gompel(2018): The EU Copyright Reform Package
  • M. Kretschmer(2018): “The Copyright Directive is failing”
  • S.J. van Gompel(2019): ‘Gaat de Europese auteurswetgeving: Artikel 13 het internet veranderen? Stef van Gompel geeft uitleg!’
  • S.J. van Gompel(2019): The War on Memes: Article 13 & the EU
  • S.J. van Gompel(2019): Bescherming van perspublicaties met betrekking tot onlinegebruik (art. 15, voorheen art. 11)
  • S.J. van Gompel(2019): ‘Europees Parlement stemt in met komst van omstreden “uploadfilter”’
  • S.J. van Gompel(2019): ‘Het blijft spannend hoe 'artikel 13' het internet gaat veranderen’
  • S.J. van Gompel(2019): ‘Akkoord over omstreden Europese auteursrechtenrichtlijn’
  • S.J. van Gompel(2019): ‘Hoe Artikel 13 het internet zoals we nu kennen gaat veranderen’
  • S.J. van Gompel(2019): ‘Akkoord over auteursrechten op internet vlakbij, maar wat zijn de gevolgen?’
  • S.J. van Gompel(2019): ‘YouTuber Wouter over artikel 13: 'Deze politici plaatsten nog nooit een meme'’
  • M. Ricolfi, A. Kuczerawy, M. Kretschmer, S.J. van Gompel, T. Margoni, V. Moscon, M. Husovec, C.J. Angelopoulos, J. Quintais, R. Xalabarder, M.M.M. van Eechoud, R. Hilty, L. Bently, P.B. Hugenholtz, M. Senftleben, S. Stalla-Bourdillon(2019): “The Copyright Directive: Articles 11 and 13 must go”
  • S.J. van Gompel(2019): ‘Komt er een einde aan het vrije internet zoals we dat nu kennen?’
  • S.J. van Gompel(2019): ‘Laatste Europese hobbel is genomen: copyright-richtlijn komt er definitief’


Project number


Main applicant

Dr. S.J. van Gompel

Affiliated with

Universiteit van Amsterdam, Faculteit der Rechtsgeleerdheid, Instituut voor Informatierecht

Team members

Dr. S.J. van Gompel


01/01/2015 to 17/07/2019