The Commission's European Agenda for the Collaborative Economy – (Too) Platform and Service Provider Friendly?
Maastricht European Private Law Institute Working Paper No. 2016/07
24 Pages Posted: 13 Dec 2016
Date Written: December 2016
On 2 June 2016, the Commission published a Communication containing “A European agenda for the collaborative economy”. The Communication intends to provide non-binding legal guidance and policy orientation on the sustainable development of the collaborative economy. It contains a number of helpful suggestions for example as to when an individual offering services via an online platform is to be regarded as an employee. The advice to ensure a high level of consumer protection while not imposing disproportionate burdens on non-professional service providers can be supported in general. However, it is to be investigated whether the application of many rules of consumer law could not be extended to consumers dealing with such service providers. The Commission’s advice to use trustmarks as an instrument of consumer protection is interesting, but its implementation requires further research. While the Commission is generally very supportive of the collaborative economy, its advice to collaborative platforms to take voluntary action to fight illegal content online may entail the risk of the platform losing the benefit of the hosting exemption.
Keywords: Sharing Economy, Collaborative Economy, Platform Economy, Distinction B2B/B2C Transactions, Uber, Airbnb, Consumer Protection
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