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Policy Document

European Commission report on Fake News and Online Disinformation

Final report of the High Level Expert Group (HLEG) on Fake News and Online Disinformation
In January 2018, the European Commission created High Level Group (HLEG) of experts "to advise on policy initiatives to counter fake news and disinformation spread online". The multidisciplinary group consisted of 39 members and was chaired by Prof. Dr. Madeleine de Cock Buning. The report presented by the HLEG affirms that disinformation is a phenomenon that goes beyond the term "fake news", which was used misleadingly by different actors "to dismiss coverage that is simply found disagreeable." As defined in the report, disinformation "includes all forms of false, inaccurate, or misleading information designed, presented and promoted to intentionally cause public harm or for profit." The HLEG recommends a multi-dimensional approach to the problem of disinformation, consisting of five pillars: enhance transparency of...
Policy Document

Commission Recommendation on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online

The European Commission issued guidelines encouraging Member States and hosting service providers "to take effective, appropriate and proportionate measures to tackle illegal content online". Chapter I of the document provides general recommendations. Those include: the creation of easy to access and user-friendly mechanisms allowing the submission of notices reagarding the existence of illegal content. These mechanisms should encourage the notice provider to provide "sufficiently precise and adequately substantiated" notices "to enable the hosting provider concerned to take an informed and diligent decision in respect of the content to which the notice relates" (paragraphs 5-8) Hosting providers should inform the content providers about the notice, allowing for counter-notice procedures. However, the recommendation...

General Resources - EUROPEAN UNION

Curia, www.curia.europa.eu European Commission, Digital Agenda for Europe, https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda European Commission, The EU Single Market, Online Services, http://ec.europa.eu/internal_market/e-commerce/index_en.htm
Court Decision

Tommy Hilfiger v. Delta

Case C‑494/15
Although this is not an Internet case – it involves intellectual property rights in items sold at a market – the court discusses and applies injunction standards from the eCommerce Directive Intermediary Liability provisions.
Proposed Law

European Commission, Proposal for a Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, COM(2016) 593 final, September 14, 2016

The draft directive aims—inter alia—to close the so called “value gap” between Internet platforms and copyright holders. To that end, the proposed reform includes a provision that would impact platform operations. It requires intermediaries “that store and provide access to large amounts of works . . . uploaded by their users” to take appropriate and proportionate “measures to ensure the functioning of agreements concluded with rightholders for the use of their works” or “to prevent the availability on their services of such works,” including through “the use of effective content identification technologies.”
Policy Document

European Commission, Communication, Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market: Opportunities and Challenges for Europe, COM(2016) 288 Final, May 25, 2016

The Communication apparently endorses the plan of maintaining the existing intermediary liability regime. However, the Commission stresses that “a number of specific issues relating to illegal and harmful content and activities online have been identified that need to be addressed.” In this regard, the Commission would launch a “sectorial legislation … and problem-driven approach.” Apparently, this sectorial action will target copyright-protected content, minors’ protection from harmful content, and incitement through hatred. This should happen through a mix of legislative interventions—by updating the audiovisual and copyright regulations—and promotion of voluntary self-regulatory actions. The Communication puts forward the idea that “the responsibility of online platforms is a key and cross-cutting issue.”