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OFE publishes recommendations on the regulatory environment for online platforms

18 December 2015

Author: Sachiko Muto

Today OFE published a position paper containing recommendations to the European Commission in the context of the public consultation on online platforms. OFE also submitted a response to the online questionnaire opened by the Commission.

OFE’s multiple recommendations centre around some basic principles that we believe all new proposed measures should follow:

  • They should be proportional and based on facts. Many of the markets addressed in the consultation are still relatively young, rapidly evolving, and could well be stifled by excessive regulation. Any initiative from the Commission should address specific, clearly identified problems and not exceed what is strictly necessary to solve them. In this regard it should be highlighted that competition law has been and remains an effective tool for addressing problems that may arise from any dominant platform that leverages or seeks to extend its monopolistic powers. Evidence should be carefully considered: for instance the Commission should reflect on the failure of “ancillary copyright” in those Member States that have introduced this new instrument.
  • New measures should be reliable and future-proof. Wherever possible we should maintain, with minimal changes, any system which has been demonstrated to be capable of adapting to new technological changes — for example, the intermediary liability regime of the e-Commerce Directive. Where any new term (such as “online platform”, “open service platform”, or “personal data space”) is used, it should be clearly defined and not introduce further legal complexity.
  • Finally, new measures should promote transparency and openness. Users and suppliers of online platforms should have clear expectations before engaging with them, including e.g. how content on the platform may be curated. Portability and interoperability, particularly in the context of cloud computing, should remain high priorities to ensure that consumers remain free to choose the best solution for their needs.

The full list of our recommendations can be found in our position paper.


Featured image by Internet marketing Secrets – CC BY-NC 2.0