Open Letter to the European Commission – On the Importance of Preserving the Consistency and Integrity of the EU Acquis Relating to Content Monitoring within the Information Society
Recent developments, starting with the Communication on Online Platforms and the Digital Single Market Opportunities and Challenges for Europe released on 25/05/2016, followed by a series of proposals (Proposal for a Directive amending the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on copyright in the Digital Single Market) and soft law initiatives (the EU Internet Forum against Terrorism and the Code of Conduct on Countering Illegal Hate Speech Online) seriously put at risk the consistency and integrity of the EU acquis related to the information society.
A key component of this acquis is the prohibition of general monitoring obligations to the benefit of providers of intermediary services. It is a means to achieve at least two central objectives: the encouragement of innovation as well as the protection of fundamental rights of all Internet users, namely the rights protected by Articles 8 and 11 of the European Convention of Human Rights. Yet, the proposed Copyright Directive, in particular, seems to negatively affect both the domain and effect of Article 15 of the E-Commerce Directive. The signatories of this open letter therefore urge the European Commission to take into account the human rights dimension of Article 15 of the E-Commerce Directive, as made explicit by the Court of the Justice of the European Union, and to make sure its implications are carefully examined across sectors.