In a February 7, 2017 webinar, the Hogan Lovells Digital Single Market (DSM) team presented its take on new developments for 2017. Peter Watts introduced the session by warning that the loss of the UK voice in EU policy making could lead to rules that are less sensitive to business needs. Marco Berliri commented on the challenges currently facing large e-commerce clients and why a single market would bring significant benefits: “There are too many authorities to deal with. Some of our online clients have to deal with 10 different consumer protection authorities or data protection authorities, without a consistent approach and without giving businesses the possibility to adopt a common solution that works for all.” Tax counsel Mathias Schönhaus referred to tax authorities’ desire to impose VAT on “free” online services, on the ground that the services are not really free. Schönhaus said this approach is short-sighted and would logically require taxation of other offline free services such as free newspapers. Competition lawyer Dina Jubrail described Margrethe Vestager’s balanced approach to big data in competition cases. According to Jubrail, “the Commission is approaching situations on a case-by-case basis. The accumulation of data can lead to potential competition law problems, but this is certainly not always the case.”
Nils Rauer commented on the Commission’s efforts to regulate large video sharing platforms, both through the proposed copyright directive, which would impose heightened obligations on platforms to fight against online infringement, and through the AVMS (Audiovisual Media Services) Directive, which would impose obligations on video sharing platforms to fight against other forms of harmful content. Finally, Winston Maxwell highlighted the Commission’s economic approach to regulating non-personal data in the January 10, 2017 “data economy” package, contrasting this approach with the “fundamental rights” approach to regulating personal data under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).
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