Platforms Regulation in the Digital Single Market Strategy-Illegal Content and Intellectual Property as a Key Challenge

By Berisha, Blerim | European Research Studies, January 2019 | Go to article overview

Platforms Regulation in the Digital Single Market Strategy-Illegal Content and Intellectual Property as a Key Challenge


Berisha, Blerim, European Research Studies


1. Introduction

Choosing this proposition at Brussels Talking Lectures was to give an critical overview about "illegal content" and the guidelines tool and to reflect what we ought do in ethical way . (2) The Commission's work is motivated by concerns that the removal of illegal content online continues to be insufficiently effective-- incitement to terrorism, illegal hate speech, or child sexual abuse material, as well as infringements of Intellectual Property rights and consumer protection online need to be tackled across the EU with determination and resolve(Comission2016).One key part of the DSM Strategy targeted actions designed to combat illegal content online, including potential regulation of online platforms (an umbrella term describing a wide variety of online services). The Commission decided in 2016 not to introduce any new laws specifically to regulate online platforms' operations in Europe. However, in what the Commission sees as a quid pro quo for not legislating, it has pushed forward its idea of guidance to online platforms about illegal content. The Commission has now released that guidance, in the form of a non-binding communication to online platforms, containing a set of guidelines for tackling illegal content online (the "Guidelines"). The Guidelines focus on three major stages, to find the "illegal content" then goes through a process of remove ,and finally trackling it from re-appearing.

In the Guidelines, the Commission stresses once again that illegal content online is a key issue that needs to be tackled, but is really hard to trackle it if we look to the freedom of press and free public speech. It ties the need to remove online content not only to the protection of users and society at large but also to an economic benefit for the EU as a whole. Social media giants have again been put on notice that they need to do more to speed up removals of hate speech and other illegal content from their platforms in the European Union. The bloc's executive body, the European Commission today announced a set of "guidelines and principles" aimed at pushing tech platforms to be more pro-active about takedowns of content deemed a problem.

Specifically it's urging they build tools to automate flagging and re-uploading of such content. "The increasing availability and spreading of terrorist material and content that incites violence and hatred online is a serious threat to the security and safety of EU citizens," it said in a press release, arguing that illegal content also "undermines citizens' trust and confidence in the digital environment" and can thus have a knock on impact on "innovation, growth and jobs". "Given their increasingly important role in providing access to information, the Commission expects online platforms to take swift action over the coming months, in particular in the area of terrorism and illegal hate speech--which is already illegal under EU law, both online and offline," it added.

2. Rationale

In a statement on the guidance, VP for the EU's Digital Single Market, Andrus Ansip, described the plan as (3) "a sound EU answer to the challenge of illegal content online", and added: "We make it easier for platforms to fulfil their duty, in close cooperation with law enforcement and civil society. Our guidance includes safeguards to avoid over-removal and ensure transparency and the protection of fundamental rights such as freedom of speech" (Andrus 2016). The move follows a voluntary Code of Conduct, unveiled by the Commission, with Facebook, Twitter, Google's YouTube and Microsoft signed up to agree to remove illegal hate speech which breaches their community principles in less than 24 hours.In a recent assessment of how that code is operating on hate speech takedowns the Commission said there had been some progress. But it's still unhappy that a large portion of takedowns are still taking as long as a week. It said it will monitor progress over the next six months to decide whether to take additional measures--including the possibility of proposing legislative if it feels not enough is being done. …

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