30 June 2021 – “An Endless Odyssey? Content Moderation Without General Content Monitoring”

Digital Services Act (DSA) Observatory
Institute for Information Law (IViR, University of Amsterdam) in collaboration with

Centre for Intellectual Property and Information Law (CIPIL, University of Cambridge)


“An Endless Odyssey? Content Moderation Without General Content Monitoring”

30 June 2021, 4:30-5:30 pm (CEST, Amsterdam)
Online Seminar via Zoom, link will be shared beforehand

Underlying paper available open access: http://ssrn.com/abstract=3871916


4:15 Get together (Zoom open)

4:30 Introduction: Dr. Christina Angelopoulos (CIPIL) and Prof. Martin Senftleben (IViR)

4:45 Comments: Prof. Pam Samuelson (Berkeley Center for Law and Technology), Dr. David Erdos (CIPIL) and Prof. Christophe Geiger (CEIPI)

5:10 Plenary debate

5:30 Closing

If you would like to participate, please register by sending an email (indicating your position and affiliation) to Ilaria Buri: i.buri@uva.nl



In line with the E-Commerce Directive and the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market, the Digital Services Act provides explicitly that intermediaries may not be obliged to monitor their service in a general manner in order to detect and prevent the illegal activity of their users. However, a misunderstanding of the difference between monitoring specific content and monitoring FOR specific content is a recurrent theme in the debate on intermediary liability and a central driver of the controversy surrounding it. Rightly understood, a prohibited general monitoring obligation arises whenever content – no matter how specifically it is defined – must be identified among the totality of the content on a platform. The moment platform content must be screened in its entirety, the monitoring obligation acquires an excessive, general nature. Against this background, a content moderation duty can only be deemed permissible if it is specific in respect of both the protected subject matter and potential infringers. This insight is of particular importance because it prevents encroachments upon fundamental rights.

In this workshop – organized by the DSA Observatory – we will discuss content moderation practices in the light of the prohibition of general monitoring obligations with three top experts in the field:

  • Prof. Pam Samuelson (Richard M. Sherman Distinguished Professor of Law and Co-Director, Berkeley Center for Law & Technology);
  • Dr. David Erdos (Deputy Director of CIPIL and University Senior Lecturer in Law, University of Cambridge); and
  • Prof. Christophe Geiger (Professor of Intellectual Property Law, Centre d’études internationales de la propriété intellectuelle – CEIPI, University of Strasbourg).