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Digital Business Lawyer

Volume: 17 Issue: 4
(April 2015)


The EU Commission agreed on the main areas for action for the new Digital Single Market Strategy, due to be published in May, during the first discussion on the matter held on 25 March. “Let us do away with all those fences and walls that block us online,” said VP for the Digital Single Market Andrus Ansip, in the EC press release. / read more

The England and Wales Court of Appeal ruled on 27 March that three Safari users who allege that Google secretly tracked their internet activity and targeted them with personalised adverts, evading user security settings, can bring their case to full trial in England. / read more

A Higher Regional Court of Celle ruling, released in March and delivered on 29 January, highlights that German website operators subject to a cease-and-desist order must ask Google to remove infringing content from its cache, in a case where an association presented on its website information on the plaintiff’s holiday apartment, potentially misleading users into believing the plaintiff was an association member. / read more


In March the European Council of Ministers adopted a principle-based Common Position on net neutrality in a new draft EU regulation. This Common Position has proven controversial, with the Netherlands and Slovenia, who have previously introduced national laws to enforce net neutrality, among the Member States voting against the Position. Specifically the Common Position allows inter alia for zero-rating and paid prioritisation of internet traffic, which some critics argue could lead to anti-competitive price discrimination and a ‘two-tier internet.’ Feyo Sickinghe and Wilfred Steenbruggen of Bird & Bird discuss the development of net neutrality in Europe, including the enforcement of net neutrality rules in the Netherlands and Slovenia so far, and how national laws governing net neutrality could be affected should the new Common Position become law. / read more

The potential for the use of small unmanned aircraft systems (‘UAS’) - or drones - in the e-commerce world may be substantial, given the strong interest expressed by large e-commerce companies such as Amazon in using drones to deliver orders. In the US however, new proposed rules from the Federal Aviation Administration (‘FAA’) would, as currently written, restrict the use of drones in commercial delivery. Michelle Cohen, Member and Chair of the E-Commerce Practice at Ifrah Law examines the FAA’s proposed rules and the reaction from industry. / read more

The European Commission (‘EC’) and the national competition authorities of the Member States (‘NCAs’) have identified ‘digital markets’ as a key area for policy development and enforcement. New Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager has, for instance, already emphasised her commitment to utilise available powers to foster a well-functioning digital single market. Becket McGrath, Partner at Cooley (UK) LLP discusses the EC’s plans as well as the wider context and activity at NCA level in the UK. / read more

The high profile dispute in the ‘Microsoft Ireland’ case has called into question the reach of criminal search warrants issued by the US Government. In this context, the Law Enforcement Access to Data Stored Abroad Act (the ‘LEADS Act’) has been introduced to the US Congress, and which would, inter alia, disallow the US Government from using a warrant under the US Electronic Communications Privacy Act to acquire data stored outside the US unless that data belonged to a US citizen. Peter S. Vogel, Michelle Schulz, Elsa Manzanares and Sadie F. Butler of Gardere Wynne Sewell LLP discuss the proposed Act. / read more

In Venezuela, the Fair Prices Organic Act, which in 2013 repealed the Law for the Defense of People’s Access to Goods and Services 2010, currently leaves the e-commerce area lacking regulation, either because legislation in this area was forgotten or was intentionally left out; this provides the basis for the preparation of the new draft law (‘Draft’) on e-commerce. / read more

The Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’) has provided useful guidance to the Eastern High Court of Denmark (the ‘EHCD’) in respect of levies payable under the private copying exception of the Copyright and Information Society Directive (2001/29/EC) (the ‘Directive’). Varying implementation of the exception among EU Member States continues to cause controversy and raises crucial questions as to how the levies should be applied. There is debate and uncertainty about its purpose. Arguments are fundamentally based on whether levies under the exception impose a form of taxation to the benefit of rightsholders, or simply a licence to consumers for certain activities. Until now, this has not been significantly addressed by European law. However, the CJEU decision on 5 March 2015 seeks to clarify the critical issue of whether rightsholders can permit certain uses and still require compensation through the levy system. The ruling will have direct consequences for the digital services industry, both legally and commercially, and emphasises in particular the need for review of the private copying exception introduced by the UK Government, as Gregor J. Pryor and Charlotte Barnett of Reed Smith explain. / read more

About Digital Business Lawyer:

The monthly publication providing authoritative insights and thought leadership on the legal/regulatory issues affecting online business, covering distance selling, contracts, domain names, adblocking, advertising, cloud computing, net neutrality, e-privacy, data protection, cyber crime, the Internet of Things, social media, internet taxation and software / read more

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