Digital Services Act

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Today, the European Commission published its proposal of the Digital Services Act (“DSA”), intended to update the rules on the liability and obligations of digital and, in particular, online platform service providers. This Regulation will replace Articles 12 to 15 of Directive 2000/31/EC (Directive on electronic commerce) and the legislation that transposes it into national law.

The proliferation of new and innovative online digital services since the Directive on electronic commerce was passed justifies the need to adapt and update the applicable rules. However, it keeps the basic principles in the current online intermediary services responsibility regime (for example, the general prohibition of monitorization, the good Samaritan clause and the order principle).

These are some of the changes introduced by the proposed Regulation:

  • It unifies and standardizes the rules applicable to digital service providers, providing greater legal certainty
  • It keeps limitations on digital service providers’ responsibility, so that, as a general rule, digital service producers are not responsible for content uploaded by users
  • It updates the classification of the different digital service providers (introducing the following categories: intermediation services, hosting services, online platforms, extensive online platforms)
  • It introduces new concepts or figures, such as trusted flaggers or gatekeepers
  • It creates new transparency obligations, as well as collaborative and cooperative obligations for competent authorities or trusted flaggers
  • It clarifies orders or requests to remove illegal content – what they are, and what they must include
  • It does not establish strict time frames to remove content, nor does it create an obligation to remove content that, despite being legal, may be “harmful”.

The European Parliament and Member States must now debate the content of the Regulation proposed by the Commission, which is expected to take place over the next two years. Once approved, the Regulation will take direct effect in all Member States.

Author: Ane Alonso

This post is also available in: Español

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ane.alonso@cuatrecasas.com