Video-Sharing Platforms In AVMSD – A New Kind Of Content Regulation
Forthcoming, Research Handbook on EU Media Law and Policy (Elgar Publishing)
24 Pages Posted: 26 Feb 2020
Date Written: November 26, 2019
Probably the most significant change in the new version of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD or the Directive) is the extension of its scope to the regulation of video-sharing platforms (VSPs). It is the first time that legislation on an EU level has addressed specific content regulation on any kind of digital platform. In the context of a changing mood toward big tech, the provisions of the Directive may prove to be very influential. Either because its implementation would lead to a more satisfactory rearrangement of the current situation in the EU media environment, or because of some tough lessons learned.
True, this regulation concerns only audiovisual content, and therefore, does not cover all content on social media. But with this model, as this chapter tries to explain, we are witnessing a new approach to content regulation that, if successful, can later be extended to other areas. That is why it warrants close inspection. And ideally, if this is done before the transposition of the provisions in question into national legislative frameworks.
From the broader perspective, the approach that the new AVMSD takes is in line with the ideas voiced by many of those thinking and writing about the potential content regulation on platforms.
Its approach to content regulation is systemic rather than focusing on individual pieces of content on the platform, it recognises the rights of the users, including explicitly mentioning the protection of freedom of expression of those that upload content, and it legislates for transparency.
And it is these three elements of VSP regulation that this chapter is primarily focusing on. On the systemic approach because it is an entirely new element in the EU media regulation. On the latter two elements, rights of the users and transparency, because, while fairly rudimentary in their phrasing in the Directive, these may prove to be crucial in the development of a new approach to content regulation on digital platforms.
Indeed, to achieve this, it would take a certain regulatory angle to interpret the provisions of the Directive. This chapter is looking at the VSP regulation in AVMSD precisely from this perspective. It tries to highlight those parts that, if given priority by legislators in the member states, may help in improving the current workings of the media environment in digital space.
Keywords: Audiovisual Media Services Directive, AVMSD, video-sharing platforms, media regulation, content regulation, content moderation
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