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Global Media and Communications Watch The International Legal Blog for the Tech, Media and Telecoms Industry

Falk Schoening

Posts by Falk Schoening
Posted in Policy & Regulation, Technology Photo of Falk Schoening

OECD publishes issues paper on blockchain and competition law

Competition law questions are increasingly raised in the public debate about the blockchain technology. While there is yet to be any investigation in this field, the policy debate about applying competition law instruments to this disruptive, decentralised technology is heating up. The latest and probably most comprehensive approach to structuring the discussion comes from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). On 26 April 2018, the OECD’s Secretariat published an issues paper for the discussion on Blockchain and Competition to be held at a meeting of the OECD Competition

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU) Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Winston MaxwellPhoto of Peter WattsPhoto of Marco Berliri

Tomorrow’s landscape for digital business – The Digital Single Market becomes real!

DSM – What is it about? In 2018, we will see new EU legislation being widely implemented as part of the EU Commission’s Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy. The amendments to the current legal framework are far reaching and will potentially be game changing. Some of the key areas to be affected will be:   — Unjustified geo-blocking — Copyright law — Audio-visual media services (AVMS) — Internet broadcasting — Free flow of data / Cloud Services — VAT regulation for online trade — Platform liability — Electronic Communications Code —

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU), Policy & Regulation Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Alastair ShawPhoto of Christian Ritz, LL.M. (USYD)Photo of Alberto BellanPhoto of Dina Jubrail

Webinar Recording: Digital Single Market 2018 – It is becoming real!

On Tuesday 14 November the Hogan Lovells DSM Taskforce (our dedicated pan-EU team of lawyers tracking the Commission’s DSM strategy) had its annual live meeting in Brussels to discuss the progress of the implementation of the DSM strategy and key forthcoming developments. The team held a webinar on the status of the strategy and what to expect in 2018 in the areas of platforms, e-commerce, the draft AVMS Directive, the copyright reforms, privacy and telecoms. If you missed it you can read the highlights below or watch the recorded webinar

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Technology Photo of Falk Schoening

What blockchain can learn from the net neutrality debate: antitrust and regulatory aspects of “paid prioritization” for a nascent technology

First come, first served. That’s not the principle behind the clearance of Bitcoin transactions. Equally for other blockchain technology networks, the relevant factor to get a transaction on the next available block is not time, but often: money. “Paid prioritization” is a reality. Miners will first pick and clear those transactions which will most highly reward them. Is this a problem? Not necessarily. As long as users have plenty of alternatives in the fields of cryptocurrency or smart contracts they can just use different networks. However, in the medium or

Posted in Data Protection & Privacy, Technology Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Christian Ritz, LL.M. (USYD)

Big Data and digital markets remain in the focus of competition authorities – German FCO continues to lead the way

On 6 October, the German Federal Cartel Office (“FCO”) launched its new series of papers on “Competition and Consumer Protection in the Digital Economy”. The first paper deals with “Big Data and Competition”. The same day, a “real-life example” of competition enforcement in Big Data became public. The EU Commission confirmed unannounced inspections in “a few Member States” concerning online access to bank customer’s account data by competing service providers. In the words of Andreas Mundt, president of the FCO “the special characteristics of digital markets have created new challenges for

Posted in Policy & Regulation Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Kay Jebelli

Sharing Economy: European Parliament call for EU level guidance on employment and social security questions

To regulate or not to regulate: This question becomes relevant for the sharing economy after last week’s European Parliament resolution calling for clear EU guidelines on the collaborative economy. The resolution is a response to the European Commission’s Communication on “A European agenda for the collaborative economy” from June 2016 which took a light or even non-regulation approach regarding this particular business model. The European Parliament is concerned that the Commission’s Communication did not provide sufficient clarity or harmonization on how EU law applies to the various types of platform

Posted in Drones Photo of Falk Schoening

New EASA Consultation: Are Drone Pilots Heading for a Period of Regulatory Turbulence?

On 12 May 2017 the European Aviation Safety Agency (“EASA“) opened a consultation into sweeping new regulations on the operation of unmanned aircraft systems (“UAS” or drones) in European airspace. Individuals and companies that are interested in the future of UAS operations in the European Union (“EU”) should carefully review the Notice of Proposed Amendment and consider participating in the review process by submitting comments and letting EASA know their views on all aspects of the proposed regulations. Under the current regulations, EASA only regulates large UAS with a maximum take-off

Posted in Drones, Policy & Regulation Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Christian Ritz, LL.M. (USYD)

Sky full of drones – Germany opens up for new drone opportunities as it introduces its new UAS Regulation

Germany has introduced a new “Regulation for the Operation of Unmanned Aircraft Systems” (“Drone-Regulation“). On 7 April 2017, the new Drone-Regulation entered into force adapting national legislation to the risk-based approach of the European Union and setting the way for innovative technologies. However, the new rules also contain identification and qualification obligations as well as strict authorisation requirements for specific operations of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (“UAS”). Some aspects of Germany’s new UAS regulations parallel the Federal Aviation Administration’s (“FAA”) Small UAS Rule (Part 107) that went into effect in the

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU) Photo of Martin SuraPhoto of Christoph WünschmannPhoto of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Christian Ritz, LL.M. (USYD)

DSM Watch: Germany suggests ramping up regulation of Digital Platforms by establishing a “Digital Agency” with a robust antitrust mandate

Will Germany establish a “Digital Agency” to monitor compliance with competition law rules in digital markets? Will a German “Digital Antitrust Enforcer” become a role model for a European protectionist approach against American and Asian platform providers? The German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy seems to see a pressing need for regulation in digital markets. The White Paper “Digital Platforms”, published on the 20 March 2017, provides an outlook on possible forms of digital regulatory policy in Germany and potentially also in Europe. Of particular interest from a

Posted in Policy & Regulation Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Rod Freeman

Regulate Frankenstein: the European Parliament calls for new rules for robots

When a parliamentary report cites Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in its recitals and proposes new regulation for robots with artificial intelligence (“AI”), one cannot be sure whether the 19th or the 21st century has inspired the legislator. Last week, the European Parliament took a step to introduce new regulation of robots in Europe. Declaring that the EU needs to “take the lead” in this area, the Parliament endorsed a Report that asks the European Commission to propose rules on robotics and artificial intelligence, in order to fully exploit their economic potential

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU) Photo of Winston MaxwellPhoto of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Rod Freeman

DSM Watch: European Commission’s data package explores data ownership, localization, liability and portability, highlighting tensions with GDPR

On January 10, 2017, the European Commission released a Communication, a fact sheet, a working document and a public consultation relating to Europe’s “data economy”.   The fact sheet states that “data is a new type of economic asset”, which is essential for innovation and growth. The Commission’s objective is to remove “unjustified restrictions” and “legal uncertainties” in order to facilitate data sharing and innovation. Interface with GDPR The Commission’s Communication on the data economy brings to light a fundamental tension between the policy on protection of personal data and the

Posted in Drones, Policy & Regulation Photo of Falk Schoening

The European Parliament pushes for an EU-wide regulation for UAS

The split of competences between the European Union (“EU”) and its Member States has been a point of friction in the setting out of the future European rules on unmanned aircraft system (“UAS”). In December 2015, the European Commission advocated in its Aviation Strategy for the need for a common regulatory framework across the EU to ensure a single European UAS market. The European Aviation Safety Agency (“EASA”), headquartered in Cologne (Germany), would play a crucial role in defining the common European standards. On 10 November 2016, the European Parliament’s Committee

Posted in Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Falk Schoening

BEREC stakeholder forum: Revisiting the scope of bundling in the EU

At the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC)’s annual stakeholder forum in Brussels, bundling in the telecom sector came under the spotlight, and in particular some questions were aimed at whether “bundled” offers were legal. On the occasion of the BEREC forum, we thought it useful to revisit European rules on bundling which are relevant both from a regulatory and from a competition law perspective. Bundling can primarily occur in two ways. The first is known as “pure bundling”. Pure bundling is when two products can only be

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU), Internet, Policy & Regulation Photo of Christian Ritz, LL.M. (USYD)Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Peter Watts

Fragmentation instead of level-playing field? How the German Government’s announced White Paper on digital platforms adds to regulatory uncertainty on topical issues of the digital economy after Brexit

Many digital platforms attract consumers and businesses on a global basis. It is a challenge for national regulators to enforce competition law and other regulatory provisions against such international players. Germany´s Federal Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, argued in a similar way in an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt on 5 October 2016. He took a stand on the significant market shares of certain digital platforms questioning whether current competition law rules enable enforcers to sufficiently tackle current issues in the digital economy. Interestingly, despite calling for an EU-wide

Posted in Technology Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Kay Jebelli

European Commission eyes new European rules for Big Data and Competition law

Earlier today Margarethe Vestager, the European Competition Commissioner, delivered a speech about Big Data and Competition law. The Commissioner made several key points that emphasize the growing economic and competitive significance of data and data aggregation. More importantly, the Commissioner announces that she will propose a new EU Directive to ensure the consistent application of competition law on big data issues throughout the EU. In particular companies dealing with large volumes of data should closely follow these developments. The speech focuses on three main topics: Data as an asset: the

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU), e-commerce Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Peter Citron

European Commission’s e-commerce sector inquiry – increasing antitrust heat

Online sales are not only attracting the attention of consumers and tech businesses, but also increased review by antitrust regulators. The European Commission yesterday published a detailed 290 page preliminary report on its e-commerce sector inquiry. While commenting on the release of the report, EU Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager stated that the report should be “a trigger for companies to review their current distribution contracts and bring them in line with EU competition rules if they are not“. She states that the information from the sector inquiry will help the European Commission

Posted in Data Protection & Privacy Photo of Eric ParochePhoto of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Martin SuraPhoto of Christoph WünschmannPhoto of Christian Ritz, LL.M. (USYD)

Big Data – Big Competition Issues? German and French antitrust regulators publish joint paper “Competition Law and Data”

Big data is no longer a term used only by the digital economy. Competition law agencies in Germany and France significantly ramp-up their enforcement tools in the light of technology-driven market changes. As regulators aim at being on par with market players dealing with big data, such companies need to carefully analyze whether the approach taken in the EU can affect any planned transactions or whether their business model contains any risks of being reviewed by the agencies. The German Bundeskartellamt (Federal Cartel Office or FCO) and the French Autorité

Posted in Policy & Regulation Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Logan Breed

Antitrust regulators emphasize importance of innovation for merger control assessment – Commission considering revision of EU merger control thresholds

Antitrust regulators around the globe reinforce the importance of innovation for the assessment of mergers and acquisitions. The European Commission this month published a policy brief on the role of innovation in merger control within the European Union (EU) outlining the Commission’s approach to the assessment of innovation in the context of merger control. In addition, EU Commissioner Vestager in a speech on 18 April 2016, in line with previous announcements, signalled the Commission’s intention to re-examine its thresholds for notification with a view to enabling the Commission to examine

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU), Policy & Regulation Photo of Christian Ritz, LL.M. (USYD)Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Charlie Hawes

DSM Watch: Commission presents measures to digitise European Industry

DSM Watch: Commission presents measures to digitise European Industry Today, the European Commission published its Communication on “Digitising European Industry – Reaping the full benefits of a Digital Single Market” together with several other Communications and Staff Working Documents. These documents set out a series of measures and proposals intended to reinforce the EU’s competitiveness in digital technologies and to ensure that every industry in Europe can fully benefit from digital innovations.

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU), Policy & Regulation Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Winston MaxwellPhoto of Christian Ritz, LL.M. (USYD)

DSM Watch: Opposition growing to the regulation of online platforms

When the European Commission in its Communication on a Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe (DSM) of 6 May 2015 committed to assess the role of online platforms, questions were raised whether this was the start of a new regulation of platforms. In this context, on 24 September 2015 the Commission launched a public consultation seeking views to better understand the social and economic role of platforms, market trends, and the dynamics of platform-development before deciding how to move forward. However, regulation still is one of the possible options the

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU), e-commerce Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Christian Ritz, LL.M. (USYD)

DSM Watch: Can manufacturers prevent resale of goods via third-party online platforms using selective distribution agreements? Uncertainty remains in Germany following recent decision of the Higher Regional Court of Frankfurt

In its Communication on a Digital Single Market Strategy for Europe (DSM) of 6 May 2015, the European Commission committed to assess the role of online platforms. In this context, the Commission launched a sector inquiry into e-commerce (6 May 2015) in order to gather data on the functioning of e-commerce markets and to identify possible competition concerns. In addition, on 24 September 2015 the Commission launched a public consultation seeking views to better understand the social and economic role of platforms, market trends, and the dynamics of platform-development. Since

Posted in Drones Photo of Lourdes CatrainPhoto of Ajay KuntamukkalaPhoto of Falk Schoening

Extended Export Control Rules for UAVs in the EU Enacted

The framework for the regulation of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (“UAVs”) is currently intensely debated in the US, the EU and EU Member States. While the focus of this discussion relates to the operation of drones in a commercial and hobbyist environment, UAVs are also subject to export control regulation. In a move to update its export control regulations, as of 26 December 2015 the EU amended the entries of its Dual-use regime defining which UAVs are subject to export controls. The EU Commission Delegated Regulation 2420/2015 updated Annex I of

Posted in Drones Photo of Falk Schoening

The New EU Aviation Strategy: Take-off for the UAS Industry?

In the wake of Germany’s new proposed regulations for commercial and hobbyist UAS (drone) operators, announced last month, the European Commission (EC) earlier this week revealed a broad new strategy to ensure that the European aviation sector remains competitive and reaps the benefits of a fast-changing and developing global economy. The EC’s new Aviation Strategy is designed to generate growth and foster innovation in the European aviation sector, while at the same time letting passengers profit from an expanded network of safer, cleaner and cheaper flights. Notably, the Aviation Strategy

Posted in Drones Photo of Falk Schoening

BREAKING: Germany Proposes New Regulations for Commercial and Hobbyist Unmanned Aircraft Operations

On 9 November, the German Federal Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure proposed new rules for commercial and hobbyist unmanned aircraft system (UAS), or drone operations. If implemented, the proposed rules will open the door to new UAS commercial opportunities in Europe’s largest economy. Citing a lack of regulations to confront growing public safety concerns associated with the use and operation of privately owned UAS, Minister Alexander Dobrindt proposed the following key requirements: All commercially-operated and hobbyist-operated UAS weighing more than 0.5 kg (1.1 lb) will require an individual license