The long-awaited update to the e-Commerce Directive proposes new obligations for online platforms and changes to the ‘safe harbours’ from liability for infringing content.

By Jean-Luc Juhan, Deborah J. Kirk, Elisabetta Righini, Thies Deike, Grace E. Erskine, Alain Traill, and Amy Smyth

On 15 December 2020, the European Commission released a set of long-awaited proposals to create a safer and fairer digital space, including the Digital Services Act (DSA) and the Digital Markets Act (DMA). The DSA would amend parts of Directive 2000/31/EC (the e-Commerce Directive) while maintaining its core principles, with the aim of addressing new risks that have emerged since the introduction of the e-Commerce Directive.

The DMA proposal targets providers of core platform services who are designated as gatekeepers, with the aim of ensuring that markets are contestable and fair in the digital sector across the EU. Both proposals will now need to go through the EU legislative process, which is likely to be protracted, and could lead to amendments to the draft legislation.

This briefing summarises the key international, European, and UK regulatory developments applicable to providers of digital platform services, which will form the basis for the significant changes expected to continue throughout 2021.