EGDF and ISFE Position Paper on the Digital Services Act

Key EGDF-ISFE recommendations on the Commission proposal for Digital Services Act

  • Updating eCommerce Directive: EGDF and ISFE welcome the proposed maintenance of the ECD’s intermediary liability rules (and its ban on general monitoring obligations), of the Country of Origin principle and of the tailored approach to requirements for different types of digital services. However, we also believe that it is important to ensure that the DSA will not establish obligations that might conflict with other EU legislation, whether existing, pending or proposed, or that might lead to unnecessary administrative burdens for European SMEs.
  • More clarity is needed: EGDF and ISFE would also welcome more clarity in the definitions of the various intermediary service provider categories, as some of our member companies are struggling to determine into which particular category some of their services might fall and, in consequence, which additional obligations will apply to them.
  • Annual content moderation transparency reports: While EGDF and ISFE welcome the fact that the DSA does not define or apply to “harmful” content, we do have some concerns about the potentially burdensome requirement for all intermediary service providers to publish annual content moderation reports.
  • Notice and action mechanisms: EGDF and ISFE welcome the requirement in Article 14 for hosting service providers to put in place easy to access, user-friendly notice and action mechanisms. We believe that a harmonised notice and action procedure across the EU with minimal administrative burdens will provide greater legal certainty. EGDF and ISFE also support a requirement for hosting providers to maintain effective ‘counter-notice’ systems for users whose content is removed.
  • Trusted flaggers: EGDF and ISFE welcome the creation by Article 19 of a legally binding obligation for online platforms to ensure that notices submitted by trusted flaggers are processed and decided upon “with priority and without delay” (although further precision on what this means would also be welcome).
  • Internal complaint-handling systems: EGDF and ISFE agree that online platforms should ensure that their internal complaint- handling systems are easy to access, user-friendly and enable and facilitate the submission of sufficiently precise and adequately substantiated complaints. Furthermore, we believe that online platforms’ complaint and redress mechanisms should be built in such a way as to minimise administrative burdens for rightsholders.
  • Repeat infringers: EGDF and ISFE welcome the introduction of mandatory repeat offender policies by online platforms, but believes that its scope should be extended to all hosting providers, that termination – as opposed to mere suspension – should be possible (particularly in cases of repeated suspension), that further precision should be provided on what is meant by “a reasonable period of time” and that hosting providers should introduce mechanisms to prevent the re-registration of suspended or terminated entities.
  • “Know Your Business Customer” (KYBC) obligations: EGDF and ISFE support a broadening of Article 22’s scope in order to achieve effective and comprehensive “Know Your Business Customer” (KYBC) protocols for digital services. To be effective, KYBC obligations should cover all providers of intermediary services, including infrastructure services (registries and registrars, hosting providers, content delivery networks, advertising exchanges, proxy services, etc.).
  • Mandatory disclosure by online marketplaces of small traders’ home addresses: Due to the continuing shift to remote working, many small and micro businesses now operate from home offices. The requirement in Article 22(6) that online marketplaces must make traders’ addresses available to users, in a clear, easily accessible and comprehensible manner may expose such home traders to unnecessary security risks. Consideration should, therefore, be given to an exception to this requirement in the case of small traders who operate their businesses from their homes. Such an exception will not, of course, absolve online marketplaces from their obligations under Article 22 to obtain and verify the address and other information of all traders who use their services.
  • Fines and penalties: EGDF and ISFE believe that the fines and penalties for breaches of DSA obligations should be proportionate to the risks involved.

The full position paper can be downloaded from here: http://www.egdf.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/202103-EGDF-and-ISFE-DSA-Position-Paper-2021-1.pdf

The broader EGDF approach on fighting (IPR) infringements can be accessed here: http://www.egdf.eu/documentation/5-fair-digital-markets/5-a-digital-ready-copyright-framework/fighting-ipr-infringements/

The broader EGDF approach on protection of players in an online environment please visit: http://www.egdf.eu/documentation/7-balanced-protection-of-vulnerable-players/