In a recent update on the European regulatory landscape, the focus remains on addressing unlawful content on online platforms and web intermediaries. This article revisits the developments, particularly highlighting the European Parliament’s vote in September 2018 on EU copyright reform.
Current Regulatory Framework
Articles 12-14 of the ECD provide liability protection for intermediaries, with Article 14 specifically shielding information society service providers from liability for content stored on their platforms. Notably, the Article 15 ECD prohibits general monitoring obligations on providers.
Case Law Insights
Examining recent case law, decisions such as Delfi and MTE and Index.hu v Hungary underscore the challenges faced by intermediaries in handling user-generated content. Ongoing cases, including the Glawischnig-Piesczek Case C-18/18, seek clarity on the scope of ‘notice and stay down’ orders.
The CJEU’s recent ruling in the SNB-Respond case emphasized limitations on liability for service providers, reinforcing the requirement that liability exemptions apply to technical, automatic, and passive activities. However, nuances in the judgment have raised questions about the coupling of ‘knowledge/control’ with the concept of an ‘active role.’
Proposed Copyright Directive
The proposed Copyright Directive, introduced in September 2016, aims to hold online content sharing service providers accountable for copyright-protected works. The Parliament’s version of Article 13, applicable to ‘online content sharing service providers,’ outlines obligations to obtain licenses and collaborate with rights holders, omitting explicit references to content recognition technologies.
Current Status and Future Outlook
Following the European Parliament’s vote in September 2018, three-way negotiations are underway to finalize the Copyright Directive. While the Commission aims to conclude the process by the end of 2018, significant differences among co-legislators may extend the timeline. The looming European Parliament elections in May 2019 add pressure to reach a political agreement before April 18, 2019.
Commission Recommendation on Illegal Content
The Commission’s Correspondence in September 2017 laid the groundwork for combating illegal online content. A subsequent Recommendation in March 2018 expanded on the guidelines, emphasizing the removal of terrorist content within one hour of notification. The Commission has proposed a new Regulation specifically addressing the rapid removal of online terrorist content.