ACT calls for new digital services legislation

European television and VoD providers, represented by the trade association Association of Commercial Television and Video-on-Demand Services in Europe (ACT), welcomed the adoption of the Law on digital services, but suggest that strong enforcement and complementary legislation is needed to secure the digital promise.

They argue that the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA) should shape the European online environment and ensure contestability, trust and accountability for the benefit of European citizens and businesses. “While the intentions of the European legislator are clear, these two legislative instruments prepare the ground for a better regulated online environment, they cannot be the complete and definitive answer to all problems online”, they say.

According to the ACT, the Digital Markets Act can become a real solution to real business problems posed by a handful of gatekeepers. As the sole executor of the DMA, the European Commission should ensure that only genuine gatekeepers are designated as such and that they effectively comply with the obligations laid down in the regulation without undue delay. “We are counting on the European Commission to ensure rapid application and remain at its disposal for any information it may need during the execution phase”, confirms the ACT.

They suggest that the adopted Digital Services Act is vastly better than the original proposal, particularly in terms of harmonizing notice-and-action processes, the reach of trusted flaggers, and ensuring that online intermediaries – including very large online platforms and very large search engines – take responsibility for harmful and/or illegal content they host. Similarly, algorithmic transparency and the right to compensation can incentivize intermediaries to meet their due diligence obligations if properly applied. “However, some notable shortcomings remain, such as the development of better Know Your Business Customer rules for online platforms providing digital services as well as strong subsidiarity provisions that give intermediaries the ability to escape their obligations,” they add.

“We remain convinced that the European Commission will take the next natural step towards the protection of European content, by proposing a legal instrument which addresses the rigorous question of the piracy of live content and which builds on the existing concepts of the DSA. Only through a legislative proposal that guarantees the immediate removal of time-sensitive content can we truly say that ‘what is illegal online, is illegal offline’,” they state.

“The adoption of the Digital Services Package is the beginning of the end of impunity in the digital sphere,” says Grégoire Polad, Director General of ACT. “However, this is only the end of the beginning of a new wave of regulation aimed at ensuring that big technologies comply with the rules to which all other economic players have always been subject. We look forward to a host of new proposals to effectively tackle the abuses that occur in the digital sphere, including the pirating of live content and the continued spread and monetization of misinformation. There is still a huge task ahead in terms of enforcement and complementary legislation. »

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