News & positions

PRESS RELEASES 21 October 2020

Brand Manufacturers welcome the EU Parliament call for stronger rules against illegal goods and for fair trading practices in the Digital Services Act

On 20 October, the EU Parliament Plenary adopted the Reports on the Digital Services Act. The key focus of AIM has been the Internal Market and Consumer Protection Committee Report (IMCO), drafted by the Socialist Maltese MEP Alex Agius Saliba. The IMCO Report is the result of many months of negotiations and debates between the different political groups.

Michelle Gibbons, AIM Director General: “The DSA Reports acknowledge the main challenges restricting the full potential of the European digital and platform economy which include the rising volume of illegal goods available to consumers online through fraudulent sellers and an increased impact of unfair trading practices on the entire economy due to the concentration of platforms. Today’s Reports call on the Commission to deliver an ambitious framework that can ensure Europe leads the way in delivering a clean and fair platform ecosystem.

The EU Parliament Plenary votes should also be read as an acknowledgement of the opportunities for the platform economy and a call for the new rules to be fit for purpose. These new rules have to clearly address the shortcomings of the current voluntary or self-assessment action mechanism for platforms which have resulted in the challenges we all see today. Every player needs to do their part in order for this ecosystem to work. Platforms have the benefit of owning what have become ‘must-have’ systems, but with this must come responsibility for what is available on those systems. The DSA should help clarify this. We welcome the calls for clearer rules on what platforms have to implement in order to help reduce the volume of illegal goods and ensure unfair trading practices are prevented.”

The EU Commission is expected to present on 2 December 2020 a set of two proposals, covering the liability aspects for intermediaries and unfair trading practices.

The key AIM priorities for the DSA are:

  • The Digital Services Act is the opportunity to introduce clear legal obligations for platforms to do more to prevent the distribution of illegal goods especially by addressing known fraudulent activities. The current voluntary/self-assessment mechanisms (also known as the “Good Samaritan” principle) are not adequate to address the increasing volume of illegal goods on platforms.
  • Platforms should be required to verify the identity of sellers. This can be achieved by using already existing databases and anti-fraud tools. This is a key element that would at the same time discourage fraudulent sellers from accessing the platforms and help attribute liability in case of issues.
  • The DSA should introduce transparency and data sharing obligations. Platforms should share data about infringers with authorities. Platforms should report periodically on the volume of illegal goods detected, as well as pertinent actions they have taken.
  • Notifying illegal goods is still too burdensome due to the fragmented approach across different platforms. While there should always be room for each platform to improve its services, a minimum set of best practices should be introduced to reduce the burden for those notifying illegal goods.
  • Once a good is identified as illegal, it should not be possible to re-list it, and platforms should use tools to enforce their removal. Current practices mean that illegal goods are not effectively removed, but rather bounce on and off platforms.
  • Consumers should be informed if they have purchased products that have since been delisted due to being illegal. This would allow consumers to avoid any further harm and seek redress.
  • The DSA should include measures to address unfair trading practices by gatekeeper platforms.

 You can find the AIM DSA Position here.