The Interplay between the Digital Services Act and Sector Regulation: How Special is Copyright?

João Pedro Quintais (University of Amsterdam – Institute for Information Law (IViR)/DSA Observatory) and Sebastian Felix Schwemer (University of Copenhagen, Centre for Information and Innovation Law (CIIR); University of Oslo, Norwegian Research Center for Computers and Law (NRCCL)) published a new paper, in which they explore the interaction of the Digital Services Act’s rules with existing sector-specific lex specialis rules.

In their paper (available on SSRN here, and forthcoming in European Journal of Risk Regulation 2022) they look specifically at the intersection of the Digital Services Act with the regime for online content sharing service providers (OCSSPs) established under art. 17 of Directive (EU) 2019/790 on copyright in the Digital Single Market (CDSM Directive).

At first glance, these regimes do not appear to overlap as the rules on copyright are lex specialis to the Digital Services Act. A closer look shows a more complex and nuanced picture. Their analysis concludes that the DSA will apply to OCSSPs insofar as it contains rules that regulate matters not covered by art. 17 CDSM Directive, as well as specific rules on matters where art. 17 leaves margin of discretion to Member States. Based on their analysis, they suggest a number of clarifications that might help the DSA achieve the policy goal of establishing “uniform rules for a safe, predictable and trusted online environment, where fundamental rights enshrined in the Charter are effectively protected”.

Access the full paper and abstract here.