Brussels, BELGIUM — The European Commission published a Communication on “Tackling Illegal Content Online – Towards an enhanced responsibility of online platforms” today. Its aim is to publish guidelines and principles for removing illegal content from the Internet, in a way that also protects fundamental rights online.
This Communication provides guidelines for all categories of illegal content and states that notices sent by complainants to intermediaries should “contain an explanation of the reasons why the notice provider considers the content illegal and a clear indication of the location of the potentially illegal content (e.g. the URL address)” and that abuses of the notification processes “should be strongly discouraged”.
This Communication acknowledges also that “proactive measures taken by those online platforms which fall under Article 14 of the e-Commerce to detect and remove illegal content which they host […] do not in and of themselves lead to a loss of the liability exemption” – also known as “the Good Samaritan Principle”.
Article 14 of the e-Commerce Directive states as well that intermediaries should “act expeditiously” when removing or disabling access to infringing content. This Communication states clearly that the speed of the removal of infringing content depends “on the specific of the case at hand, in particular the type of illegal content, accuracy of the notice and the potential damage caused”.
The Computer & Communications Industry Association supports procedures that encourage free speech and user generated content, while quickly eliminating illegal content.
The following can be attributed to CCIA Europe’s Public Policy Senior Manager Maud Sacquet :
“CCIA has advocated for a long time for the introduction of well-thought-out Notice and Action guidelines, and this Communication is a welcome initiative for a more aligned approach on the removal of infringing content across the European Union. The “Good Samaritan” provision, in particular, is a promising step in the effort to tackle infringing content online. Such clarification will help further strengthen the digital sector’s longstanding engagement in this fight.”
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