The Digital Services Act (DSA) Observatory

The Digital Services Act (DSA) Observatory is a new project run by the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the University of Amsterdam, which kicked-off in January 2021. The DSA Observatory acts as a hub of expertise with respect to the “Digital Services Act” package presented by the European Commission in December 2020.

The DSA Observatory provides independent scientific input during the DSA debate and to engage different stakeholders on the DSA proposals, in particular on the challenge of confronting platform power from a fundamental rights and democratic values perspective. To achieve these goals, the Observatory will bring together a broad network of platform regulation experts in academia and other relevant stakeholders, including civil society organisations, policymakers and regulators.

The DSA Observatory will closely follow the DSA process and generate regular outputs on relevant developments, including through dissemination activities, workshops and expert meetings.

NEWS

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ANALYSIS

Article 17 Media Freedom Act & the Digital Services Act: aligned or alienated?

After almost two years, the DSA has entered into force. In the mean time, a new legislative proposal has been published by the Commission in September 2022: the Media Freedom Act (MFA). Both regulations caused a lot of debate, about – among other things – the so-called “media exemption”. This media exemption could give media a special position, as they would get prior notice from platforms before content moderation decisions. The exemption did not make it into the DSA, but the debate around the exemption has been revitalized with the newly proposed Article 17 MFA, which seems similar to the earlier discussed exemption. In this blog post, we will look into how the MFA tries to define “media service providers”, what Article 17 MFA actually entails and if the critical commenters calling Article 17 MFA the new media exemption can be justified. We will see that this discussion is a bit more complex, mainly due to the complicated interplay between the MFA and the Platform to Business (P2B) Regulation.

European Commission Articulates Priorities for Implementing the DSA 

The European Commission has clarified its focus for implementing the DSA. The Commission will first work on implementing procedural regulation and delivering delegated acts on the supervisory fees and independent external audits. Four other implementing and delegated acts and five guidance documents will take a lower priority. Pim ten Thije provides a handy overview of the focus areas and other acts and guidelines to come.

The Digital Services Act & the implications for the safety of journalists (Part 2)

In this second part of the blog post on the implications of the DSA on journalism, we look into the safety of journalists and other media actors. Online harassment of journalists is a widely-reported topic, but nevertheless still increasing problem. What DSA provisions are the most promising for ensuring and increasing that much-needed safe climate for journalism online? And what actors, beside online platforms, can play their part using some of the DSA provisions to benefit journalism?

Average monthly active recipients in the DSA: definition, grey areas, and how to calculate? 

The Digital Services Act designates VLOPs and VLOSEs based on their number of ‘average monthly active recipients’. How can and should online platforms calculate their number of ‘AMARs’? What role will embedded content and auto-completed search results play? And will the discounting of bots, scrapers and ‘double’ visitors lead to extra tracking of platforms’ recipients? This blog dives deep into the concept of average monthly active recipients.

EVENTS

The Digital Services Act Observatory at the Amsterdam Law School will be hosting events on a variety of topics which are relevant to the DSA discussion and process. Information on these events will be posted here.

Please get in touch if you would like to share your ideas for a DSA-related event or discuss your research at one of our events.

ABOUT

The DSA Observatory

The Digital Services Act (DSA) Observatory is a new project run by the Institute for Information Law (IViR) at the University of Amsterdam, which kicked-off in January 2021. The DSA Observatory acts as a hub of expertise with respect to the “Digital Services Act” package presented by the European Commission in December 2020.

Project team

The core project team for the DSA Observatory is composed of prof. Joris van Hoboken, Ilaria Buri, dr. Ronan Fahy, prof. Natali Helberger, prof. Martin Senftleben and dr. João Pedro Quintais.

Funding and collaboration with the Digital Legal Lab

The DSA Observatory is part of the “Digital Transformations of Decision-Making” research initiative of the Amsterdam Law School and contributes to the activities of the Digital Legal Lab, an interuniversity research centre on law and digital technologies run by a research network between four Dutch universities: Tilburg University, the University of Amsterdam, Radboud University Nijmegen and Maastricht University. This joint research initiative, the Digital Legal Studies Sector Plan for legal research is funded by the Dutch Ministry of Education, Culture and Science (OCW). The DSA Observatory was launched thanks to the funding of the Open Society Foundations.

CONTACT

The DSA Observatory team can be reached by email at:

j.v.j.vanhoboken@uva.nl or i.buri@uva.nl

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