29 September 2017Copyright

Illegal content online needs ‘forceful’ reply: European Commission

Illegal content published online raises serious concerns that need “forceful and effective replies”, according to the European Commission.

Yesterday, the Commission issued guidelines on how to tackle such content in a communication called “ Tackling Illegal Content Online”.

“Illegal content on online platforms can proliferate especially through online services that allow upload of third party content,” said the Commission.

The guidelines are more focused on content inciting hate, violence and terrorism, although piracy is included.

In a press release published the same day, the European Commission said: “With the surge of illegal content online, including online terrorist propaganda and xenophobic and racist speech inciting violence and hatred, online platforms have an increasingly important role to play and need to step up their social responsibility.”

The guidelines noted that a “harmonised and coherent approach” to removing illegal content doesn’t currently exist in the EU.

“A more aligned approach would make the fight against illegal content more effective. It would also benefit the development of the Digital Single Market and reduce the cost of compliance with a multitude of rules for online platforms, including for new entrants,” it said.

According to the Commission, online platforms should “decisively step up their actions” to address the problem and they have a key role in balancing the different fundamental rights at stake.

Online providers should adopt effective proactive measures to detect and remove the content, and not limit themselves to reacting to notices which they receive, said the guidelines.

The Commission also advised the online platforms to take advantage of new technology to fight illegal content.

“For instance, in the field of copyright, automatic content recognition has proven an effective tool for several years,” added the guidelines.

The Commission encouraged industry to ensure an “effective uptake of innovations which may contribute to increased efficiency and effectiveness of automatic detection procedures”.

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More on this story

10 January 2018   Five European Commissioners met with representatives of online platforms in Brussels yesterday to discuss the progress being made in the fight against illegal content published online.
2 March 2018   The European Commission released a set of recommended operational measures yesterday in an effort to fight back against illegal content online.