Tech Groups Urge Clarity on EU Video-Sharing Platform Liability

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By Alexis Kramer

Tech trade groups representing Amazon.com Inc., Alphabet Inc.'s Google, and other companies are urging European lawmakers to ensure that proposed rules for video-sharing platforms don’t conflict with European website liability protections.

European tech trade associations, including DIGITALEUROPE and EDiMA, along with the Washington-based Computer & Communications Industry Association, want EU officials to clarify the proposed text of an updated European Union Audiovisual Media Services Directive.

The groups registered their concerns as the European Parliament, European Commission, and European Council prepare to negotiate the final text of the directive. The three entities are scheduled to meet Sept. 28, spokespeople told Bloomberg BNA Sept. 26. At least two more meetings are expected, an EU Council press officer said.

EU members would have to ensure video-sharing platforms comply with certain advertising requirements under the proposal. Ads must not use subliminal messaging techniques or promote discrimination, among other things, under the proposed requirements.

However, the advertising provisions in the draft directive “directly undermine the limited liability regime for online intermediaries as specified by the e-Commerce Directive,” the groups wrote in a letter to the three entities. The groups are asking for clarity on how the proposed text would coincide with the e-Commerce Directive.

The e-Commerce Directive shields online platforms from liability for the content of others, provided that they don’t have actual knowledge of the illegal content. It also stipulates that platforms have no duty to monitor the information they host.

The proposed language, which appears in the European Parliament and EU Council versions of the directive, would require platforms to comply with advertising regulations “irrespective of the fact that most intermediaries do not determine the content of these ads,” the tech groups said in their letter.

Spokespeople for the commission, parliament, and council declined to comment on the letter.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alexis Kramer in Washington at aKramer@bna.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Keith Perine at kperine@bna.com

For More Information

Full text of the letter at http://src.bna.com/sQ4.

The EU Council's version of the proposed Audiovisual Media Services Directive is available at http://src.bna.com/sRm.

The European Parliament's version is available at http://src.bna.com/sRn.

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