Discussion Draft of a Directive on Online Intermediary Platforms
Research Group on the Law of Digital Services, Discussion Draft of a Directive on Online Intermediary Platforms, 5 (2016) Journal of European Consumer and Market Law 164-169 (Publishers: C.H.Beck, Nomos and Wolters Kluwer)
7 Pages Posted: 13 Aug 2016
Date Written: August 11, 2016
The rapid growth of online intermediary platforms such as Airbnb, Uber or Amazon Marketplace has not only brought new challenges for existing business models. It has also triggered a debate on whether there is a need to adjust EU consumer and market practices law in order to take into account the changing market structure caused by the rise of the ‘platform economy’. The aim of this Discussion Draft, which has been elaborated by network of legal scholars from several European Member States, is to make a contribution to this debate.
Whether the current changes in the digital single market justify any regulatory action is an open question. The researchers involved in the elaboration of the Discussion Draft have different opinions with regard to this question and how to strike the right balance between consumer protection, market freedom and innovation. However, they share the view that the debate, which has so far been conducted on a rather abstract level, may benefit from a ‘visualisation’ that provides a clearer picture how a concrete regulatory instrument – if necessary – might look like. In this sense, the text presented here is not meant as a plea for regulation, but rather as an instrument that could give a new ‘focal point’ to the debate on the platform economy.
Most of the researchers involved in the network hold the view that if regulation is considered to be necessary, the appropriate level of regulation should be European rather than national in order to avoid obstacles to the digital single market that could arise from diverging national regulatory requirements for online platforms. Therefore the draft has been conceived as a ‘Directive on Online Intermediary Platforms’.
Keywords: Digital Single Market, European contract law, European consumer law, competition law, two-sided markets, online intermediaries, online platforms, sharing economy, online reputation, online reviews, online ratings, standardization, service standards, new approach, Airbnb, Uber, Amazon Marketplace
JEL Classification: D18, D40, K00, K12, K20, K21, L10, L15, L40
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation
By Inge Graef