Take-down: new directive for actioning illegal website content

Contrary to indications given last year, the European Commission (EC) now proposes a directive to cover take-down procedures and action relating to unlawful website content. The commissioners were set to formally adopt the first draft of the Notice and Action (N&A) Directive on 10 July 2013, together with a non-binding communication on best practices for notice and action procedures.

If the new legislation lowers the risk of legal liability for online content, it will be welcomed by many in the online industry, such as website search engines (for example internet service providers and Google), website hosts and content producers (for example, YouTube or social media sites such as Facebook) and online auction forums (such as eBay). Most would, in any event, welcome harmonisation of the existing fragmented approach and multiplicity of laws. Currently, each EU member state takes a different approach to notice and take-down.

However, if the N&A Directive places more onerous obligations onto online hosts or makes it easier to get allegedly illegal content removed, then major brand owners will be happy…

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