Liability and Exemptions of Internet Service Providers (ISPs): Assessing the EU Electronic Commerce Legal Regime
Computer and Telecommunications Law Review, Vol 24, Issue 1, 2018, pg 6 - 12
21 Pages Posted: 11 Jun 2018
Date Written: February 5, 2018
E-commerce has grown exponentially in recent years. For instance, the European e-commerce market broke the €500 billion mark in 2016, with the UK accounting for around €157 billion.1 These numbers reflect the increasing importance of e-commerce to the growth of the e-commerce regime and strengthening the harmonisation efforts within the EU ISP regulatory regime. In continuing the push towards harmonisation, it is important to consider the liability regime with respect to the activities of ISPs and available exemptions.
Liability for online information can arise with respect to trade marks, privacy, copyright, trade secrets, defamation and unfair competition. This article examines the exemptions available to internet service providers (ISPs) under the EU electronic liability regime. The article will use the term “ISP” to capture service providers as described in Directive 2000/31. The article proceeds as follows. First, it provides a definition of an ISP and describes their activities. Secondly, it discusses the legal regime governing the activities of ISPs. Thirdly, it discusses the exemptions provided under arts 12 to 15 concerning the liability of ISPs as it relates to their activities. Lastly, the paper concludes by highlighting that it is necessary to balance the responsibilities and activities of ISPs against the intellectual property (IP) rights of owners of materials that is shared through the platform of ISPs.
Keywords: internet service providers, ISP, eCommerce, electronic liability regime, intellectual property, eCommerce directive
JEL Classification: K10, K19, K20
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation