Wolf Richter

 Wolf Richter

Wolf Richter is researching the potential role of Social Entrepreneurship in addressing the market failure in digital goods. His research benefits from his dual background in IP Law and Computer Sciences and his newly developed passion for China.


Wolf Richter joined the Oxford Internet Institute as a DPhil student in October 2006 to study the economical and legal impact of the social web, aka Web 2.0.

Prior to that, Wolf has worked in IT strategy consulting and was involved in transformation projects in the telecommunications, logistics and high tech industry across Europe and the US. He holds masters degrees in Intellectual property law from Swiss Federal Institute in Zurich and Computer Sciences from Humboldt University in Berlin.

Research interests

collaborative creation of intellectual goods, value chains of intellectual production, mashups and peer-to-peer enabled business models, trust, trust and quality in virtual communities, intellectual property

Positions held at the OII

  • DPhil Alumnus, October 2010 -
  • DPhil student, October 2006 - October 2010


Past projects

  • Performance of distributed problem-solving networks

    August 2007 - February 2008

    Addressing the uncertainties that surround the coordination and performance of 'Distributed Problem Solving Networks' (DPSN), as well as the areas in which these new Internet-based forms offer advantages over more familiar modes of problem-solving.



Conference papers


  • Richter. W. (2008) The future of digital music - How Governmental Intervention could save the Music Industry and increase Competition. Invited presentation, International Symposium on New Media Industry & Globalization, Shanghai University, October 2008.
  • Richter, W. and Cassarino, I. (2008) Lessons learnt from implementing an open licensing model in distributed film production - The case of A Swarm of Angels. FreeCulture 2008, iSummit, Sapporo, July 2008.
  • Richter, W. and Cassarino, I. (2008) Swarm creativity - The legal and organizational challenges of Open Content Film production. DIME conference on The Creative Industries and Intellectual Property, Birkbeck College, UCL, London, May 2008.
  • Richter, W. (2008) The future of digital music in the Peer-to-Peer Web [Presentation Slides]. Webevolve at WWW2008, Beijing, April 2008.
  • Richter, W. and Escher, T. (2008) The Performance of Online News Aggregators. Re:Publica 08, Berlin, April 2008.
  • Richter, W. and Belsky, L. (2007) What does current data on students' attitudes suggest for solving the copyright crisis in China? 4th International Conference on Intellectual Property Protection of High Technology at Tsinghua Law School, Beijing, October 2007.
  • Richter, W. (2007) First findings on students' behavior and attitudes on illegal file sharing in China. HPAIR conference 2007, Beijing, August 2007.


  • Richter, W. (2003) Sui Generis protection for databases in the EU: The example nobody wants to follow. ETH Zurich.


  • Richter, W. (2002) Specification and implementation of cross-organisational business processes with Petri nets (in German). Humboldt University Berlin.

Working papers


Richter, W. (2010) 'Better' Regulation Through Social Entrepreneurship? Innovative and Market-Based Approaches to Address the Digital Challenge to Copyright Regulation. DPhil Thesis, Oxford Internet Institute, University of Oxford.



  • Digital Britain Report released

    Wolf Richter on 16 Jun 2009 17:51PM

    The UK government today released the long-awaited Digital Britain Report. To start with the positive aspects: The ill-devised disconnection of repeat infringers is off the table, the report recognizes that there is a demand for legal media services, which [...]

  • Isle of Man goes Blanket License

    Wolf Richter on 21 Jan 2009 05:50AM

    Ars Technica wrote yesterday that the Isle of Man‘s investment minister Ron Berry had announced that the Isle of Man would introduce a Blanket License. “At the end of the day, we’re not going to stop piracy,” said Berry. [...]

  • Mediascrums: New blog on the future of digital media started

    Wolf Richter on 5 Aug 2008 15:20PM

    MediaScrums.com is a new blog originating at Harvard’s Berkman Centre to trace the evolution of production, distribution, and business models for digital media globally. Core writers are my friends and collaborators Eric Priest, Devon Copley, and [...]

  • European Union to finance development of “next generation” P2P network

    Wolf Richter on 4 Aug 2008 14:11PM

    The European Union has awarded a grant of 14 million Euro to a consortium of companies and research institutes gathered around the University of Delft (Netherlands) to develop a “next generation” P2P network. According to the press release the goal of the [...]

  • British Music Industry misses (another) historic chance

    Wolf Richter on 24 Jul 2008 12:56PM

    British record labels seem to miss yet another chance to regain leadership in shaping music distribution on the Internet: Instead of announcing the launch of an innovative, convenient, legal file-sharing platform, today the national news broke that the [...]

  • A turbulent week for digital music lovers and entrepreneurs in China

    Wolf Richter on 11 Feb 2008 21:59PM

    Last week started with a public announcement by the US lobby group IFPI to increase their enforcement attempts against illegal music downloads in China, allegedly by targeting the big search engines. According to IFPI, 99% of all songs currently [...]

  • The Performance of Distributed Problem Solving and their impact on my blogging activity

    Wolf Richter on 11 Feb 2008 20:25PM

    I realized that I have neglected blogging quite a bit recently. There is no excuse for that, but there is an explanation: Last week we finally presented the findings of the joint project between the OII and the McKinsey Technology Initiative to an [...]

  • Offline identity theft not yet a thing of the past

    Wolf Richter on 21 Oct 2007 16:08PM

    Online identity theft has been on the hype cycle for quite a while. But sometimes it is really helpful for Internet researchers to be reminded of the earthly aspects of existence. Such happened to me last Saturday, when my car fell victim to an offline [...]

  • First OII blogging roundtable in new academic year

    Wolf Richter on 11 Oct 2007 18:23PM

    To continue the OII’s tradition of gathering all active (and wannabe) bloggers at the OII to share their experiences and discuss about possibilities to further improve the visibility of the OII’s blogosphere, Malte Ziewitz has called in [...]

  • Illegal DVD vendors have taken on the battle against the Internet

    Wolf Richter on 17 Sep 2007 16:48PM

    During a recent stay in Beijing, Eric Priest invited me to join him for a panel presentation on “New approaches to the IP Challenge” during the HPAIR 2007 conference. I happily accepted the invitation and used the discussion with the students as a [...]

  • Arbitration center launched in Second Life

    Wolf Richter on 2 Aug 2007 17:20PM

    John Perry Barlow’s vision of an autonomous cyberspace outside the control of national governments has to take another blow. After the much-hyped online community Second Life has recently hit the news primarily in relation to very First World [...]

  • Marketing by DMCA

    Wolf Richter on 17 May 2007 16:09PM

    Offering a product with the goal of getting sued by a major company and enjoy the 15 seconds of free marketing fame has become an increasingly popular go-to-market strategy. A refreshingly new approach has been taken by the so far unknown company [...]

  • PennState to replace Napster by Ruckus

    Wolf Richter on 17 May 2007 12:13PM

    After the initial controversy about the introduction of the Napster service at PennState University in November 2003 had ceased, it got remarkably silent on legal music download services at university campuses. Similar silence surrounded the announcement [...]

  • Does YouTube kill the Media Festival Star?

    Wolf Richter on 5 Feb 2007 10:02AM

    Does YouTube kill the Media Festival star?I spent a fantastic weekend at the annual Transmediale festival for “art and digital culture” in Berlin. The Transmediale is one of the “landmark” festivals of the European digital event circus and has so far [...]

  • European industry split about the importance of patent enforcement and Open Source strategies

    Wolf Richter on 1 Feb 2007 10:01AM

    In a recent publication the Intelligence Unit of the Economist surveyed 405 high-level executives of European companies from a variety of industries like life-sciences, telecom, IT, professional and financial services. Most striking I found the split [...]

  • Gowers Review on Intellectual Property in the U.K. presented

    Wolf Richter on 6 Dec 2006 10:01AM

    The much anticipated findings of the review of the British Intellectual Property system (a.k.a. the Gowers review) have been presented to the public yesterday. The report contains 55 recommendations on how to change Great Britain’s copyright, patent and [...]

  • Theft in Second Life?

    Wolf Richter on 16 Nov 2006 09:59AM

    The discussion on copyright in cyberspace has just gotten a new facet: The use of a script called copybot allows copying of virtual things created in Second Life without the consent of the owner. In a crisis meeting the Sellers guild has pushed Linden Lab [...]

  • Jonathan Zittrain speaks at event of Open Rights Group in London

    Wolf Richter on 16 Nov 2006 09:57AM

    On Monday, Nov 13, Prof. Jonathan Zittrain gave a key note on copyright extension for sound recordings in front of the Open Rights Group in London. As part of the ongoing review of the UK’s intellectual property system (Gowers Review) a group backed by [...]