ELI Model Rules on Online Platforms

European Law Institute

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European Law Institute

European Law Institute

Christoph Busch

University of Osnabrück - European Legal Studies Institute; Yale University - Yale Information Society Project

Gerhard Dannemann

Humboldt University of Berlin - Faculty of Law

Hans Schulte-Nölke

European Legal Studies Institute Osnabrueck / Radboud University Nijmegen

Aneta Wiewiórowska-Domagalska

Universität Osnabrück - European Legal Studies Institute

Fryderyk Zoll

Universität Osnabrück

Date Written: February 2020

Abstract

The rise of online platforms is one of the fundamental economic and societal developments of recent years. The rapid growth of the ´platform economy´ has triggered a debate over whether the regulatory framework has to be adjusted in order to adequately reflect the changing market structure. In particular, the recalibration of rights and duties in the triangle between suppliers, customers and platform operators is currently being discussed. Recently, the first steps towards a regulatory framework for the platform economy have been taken at European and national level. However, regulation remains fragmented and sometimes inconsistent.

Against this background, the ELI Project Team has drawn up a set of Model Rules that is meant as a contribution to the ongoing debate and provides a ´visualisation´ of how a balanced approach could look, if regulatory action is considered necessary. It goes without saying that the ELI Model Rules cannot address all possible legal aspects of the platform economy. More precisely, these rules only deal with one core aspect of online platforms: the relationship between platform operators and platform users. What are the duties of platform operators towards platform users? In which cases may operators be liable towards users? What are the minimum requirements regarding fairness and the transparency of platforms? How should reputation systems for the collection of customer reviews be designed? Should there be a right to the portability of ´reputational capital´?

With regard to these questions, the ELI Model Rules not only aim to consolidate existing European and national legislation, but also provide some innovative solutions for issues that could be addressed in forthcoming regulatory initiatives, in particular platform liability and reputation systems. These rules draw inspiration from European and national legislation, recent case law as well as other regulatory instruments such as international standards.

The ELI Model Rules are based on the premise that the existing rules of competition law are necessary, but not sufficient for ensuring fairness in the digital economy. These rules, which are applicable independently of any threshold regarding market power, are meant to complement antitrust rules.
From this perspective, the ELI Model Rules could provide a source of inspiration for European and national legislators or industry self-regulation.

Keywords: Online Platforms, Model Rules, Platforms Operators, Platforms Users, Liability, Redress, Supplier, Customer, Duties, European Law, European Law Institute, ELI

JEL Classification: K13, K20, K39

Suggested Citation

ELI, European Law Institute and Busch, Christoph and Dannemann, Gerhard and Schulte-Nölke, Hans and Wiewiórowska-Domagalska, Aneta and Zoll, Fryderyk, ELI Model Rules on Online Platforms (February 2020). European Law Institute, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=

European Law Institute ELI (Contact Author)

European Law Institute ( email )

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HOME PAGE: http://www.europeanlawinstitute.eu/

Christoph Busch

University of Osnabrück - European Legal Studies Institute ( email )

Suesterstrasse 28
Osnabrueck, 49069
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://busch.jura.uni-osnabrueck.de

Yale University - Yale Information Society Project ( email )

127 Wall Street
New Haven, CT 06511
United States

HOME PAGE: http://law.yale.edu/christoph-busch

Gerhard Dannemann

Humboldt University of Berlin - Faculty of Law

Unter den Linden 6
Berlin, D-10099
Germany

Hans Schulte-Nölke

European Legal Studies Institute Osnabrueck / Radboud University Nijmegen ( email )

Suesterstrasse 28
Osnabrueck, 49074
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.schulte-noelke.de

Aneta Wiewiórowska-Domagalska

Universität Osnabrück - European Legal Studies Institute ( email )

Suesterstrasse 28
Osnabrueck, 49069
Germany

Fryderyk Zoll

Universität Osnabrück ( email )

Neuer Graben
Postfach 44 69
Osnabrück, 49074
Germany

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