Published on: Mon 4 May 2020

Proposals for a Digital Services Act in light of COVID-19

The first proposals for new legislation on digital services, as published in the European Commission's Work Programme 2020, are to be discussed on 4 May. ProductIP has summarised the most important proposals. 

The first recommendations are on how digital services, including online platforms should be regulated in the future Digital Services Act (DSA). Among the recommendations are the role of digital technologies, marketplaces and offering of unsafe products on the EU-marketplace. During the COVID-19 crisis it was noticed that many unsafe products were introduced to the market, mostly online. 

Specific proposals will be discussed today to bring the ‘Digital Single Market legislation’ into line with the other EU legislation:

  • The DSA should cover all digital services, and not only focus on online platforms. It should also cover companies which are not established in the EU, but provide their services to EU consumers;
  • Clarification of the existing definitions in the E- Commerce Directive and when needed, to introduce new elements to fill in the existing gaps;
  • The DSA should introduce clear due diligence transparency and information obligations. The new elements should improve:
    • General information requirements,
    • Introduce fair contract terms and general conditions, and
    • Strengthen the transparency requirements on commercial communications.
    • The measures should be reinforced with effective, proportionate, and dissuasive penalties.
  • The DSA should cover AI and the AI-driven issues, such as transparency, accountability, risk assessment and liability;
  • The DSA should provide clarity and guidance regarding tackling illegal content online: a complete framework for a notice-and-action process with detailed provisions on the exchange of notifications and their evaluation should be included in the DSA;
  • a more aligned approach at European level, taking into account the different types of content, will make the fight against illegal content more effective and to this end the report suggests to clarify the diverging application and criterion of the active and passive hosting providers;
  • Several improvements can be made to the DSA, regarding online market places, which can facilitate the sale and distribution of illegal and unsafe products that do not comply with EU rules on product safety and do not sufficiently guarantee consumer rights;
  • Given the cross-border nature of digital services, effective supervision and cooperation between the Member States is vital to ensure the proper enforcement of the new legal framework and, to this end the creation of a European body and a Network of Enforcement Bodies (NEB) is proposed.

At ProductIP we monitor the proposals for new legislation that may have an impact on the product legislation. 


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