We are pleased to bring you our March media update. However, this issue is marked with great sadness. On 28 February we lost a treasured friend and colleague, Patrick Dunaud. Patrick had a long and illustrious career that ended all too soon. Our thoughts are with his family and friends, who will all dearly miss him. Adieu, Patrick. If you wish to find out more about Patrick’s distinguished career, please see the announcement here

In this newsletter we cover: the approval by the EU Parliament of the new Copyright Directive; the UK Parliament’s call on the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate Facebook; and the EU reaching political agreement on the new Platforms Regulation.

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EU Parliament approves new copyright directive

Yesterday (26 March 2019) the EU Parliament approved the controversial new copyright directive.

The new directive includes additional rights for press publishers whose content appears on services such as Google News, and obligations on platforms to prevent infringing content being made available using their services.

The Directive will likely need to be implemented in 2021, meaning that the battle now turns to implementation in the Member States. What this means for the UK remains very unclear pending the conclusion of the Brexit negotiations, but we will keep an eye on this for you.


UK Parliament calls on Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) to investigate Facebook

The House of Commons’ Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee has published a report titled Disinformation and ‘fake news’.

The report is scathing of Facebook, criticising Mark Zuckerberg’s decision not to appear before (or personally respond to) the Committee, and to its conduct in relation to data privacy and competition.

The report picks up on a bitterly-fought Californian case between an app developer, Six4Three, and Facebook relating to Facebook’s restriction of access to customer data. It goes on to state that Facebook “sought to switch off apps where it considered them to be in competition or operating in lucrative areas of its platform and vulnerable to takeover”. It concludes that Facebook has pursued a policy of “profit over data security”, and that companies such as Facebook should not be allowed to “behave like ‘digital gangsters’ in the online world”.

The Committee has called on the CMA to investigate the operation of the advertising market on social media, as well as potentially anti-competitive behaviour.


EU reaches political agreement on new Platforms Regulation

The European Parliament, Council and Commission agreed on the terms of the proposed Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services. It still has a couple of hurdles to pass (namely the formal adoption by the Parliament and Council) but it is likely to do so.

We discuss the new Regulation in depth in the article linked below, but in summary it is aimed at protecting European businesses that use platforms to offer goods and services to EU citizens. It does this by banning certain unfair practices and providing for increased transparency from platforms. It also contains provisions on dispute resolution and enforcement in courts.

The Regulation is targeted at the perceived lack of accountability of platforms, and in particular the way in which platforms police, alter and promote sellers.

The Regulation is intended to affect the usual targets (Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Google). However, it will also affect hotel booking platforms and other “intermediation services”.

The Regulation specifically excludes online advertising serving tools and online advertising exchanges.


Indepth analysis

New EU online Platforms Regulation

The European Parliament, the Council of the EU and the European Commission have announced that they have reached informal agreement on the proposed ‘Regulation on promoting fairness and transparency for business users of online intermediation services’ 2018/0112 (COD) (the Regulation). While the Regulation remains to be formally adopted, it is highly likely that it will become law at some point in 2020.

Read the full article here – The regulators are coming: New EU online Platforms Regulation.



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