Online platforms


Online policies, and their possible regulation, have been a much discussed topic in recent months.

For sanity’s sake, then, let’s remain focused specifically on UK government scrutiny and transposition of existing European regulations, communications, and strategies pertaining to online platforms.

Relevant polices:

Progress and developments:

  • In April 2016 – before the Brexit vote – the House of Lords’ European Union Committee published a comprehensive inquiry report into online platforms and the digital single market, which makes for excellent academic reading, compensating for the fact that it was outdated two months later.
  • In November 2017 the European Scrutiny Committee of the House of Commons published a review of the Minister for Digital’s response to the EC’s communication on tackling illegal content online. The Committee, as they do, sent the Minister some homework, including
    • “We ask that the Government provide an account of the implications of withdrawal from the European Union for UK rights-holders concerned about EU-based infringements: i.e., in the absence of a UK-EU bilateral agreement, how would the switch to third-country status affect the extent to which UK rights-holders are effectively protected against EU-based copyright infringement, including the re-appearance of copyright infringing content, and able to seek enforcement against large-scale infringement within the EU?
    • The Commission concludes that it will assess whether additional measures – which could be legislative – are needed to ensure the swift and proactive detection and removal of illegal content online. The Minister observes that this further work by the Commission “may in turn influence our negotiating objectives—especially if the EU considers legislation.” We ask the Minister to clarify what he means by this. Is the Government strongly against EU legislation in the areas that the Commission mentions? If legislation is proposed on these issues, how does the Minister anticipate it will modify the Government’s negotiating objectives?”