EU court docket guidelines Austria communications regulation doesn’t apply to overseas platforms – JURIST


The European Union Court docket of Justice ruled Thursday {that a} 2021 Austrian law regulating communications platforms can’t be binding on firms based mostly in a distinct nation.

The Supreme Administrative Court docket of the Republic of Austria (Verwaltungsgerichtshof) requested a preliminary ruling from the EU court docket to make clear whether or not the legislation, which tried to impose obligations on home and overseas suppliers of communication platforms, was opposite to an EU directive on digital commerce.

Google, Meta and TikTok, all of which have subsidiaries established in Eire, challenged the legislation in Austrian courts in June 2022. The Bundesgesetz über Maßnahmen zum Schutz der Nutzer auf Kommunikationsplattformen (Austrian Communication Platforms Act 2021) contained provisions searching for to guard customers of communication platforms. The act tried to control practices of all “home and overseas service suppliers which give communication platforms with the intention of constructing a revenue,” with exceptions based mostly on low nationwide usership and low revenue.

Article 3(2) of the EU’s digital commerce directive stipulates that “Member States might not … limit the liberty to offer data society companies from one other Member State,” topic to exceptions below Article 3(4), which embrace public coverage, the safety of public well being, public safety and the safety of consumers.

The court docket held that the platforms are solely topic to Irish legislation, as that is the nation they’re established in. It highlighted the impact permitting a member state to limit overseas companies would have on the EU’s core rules of mutual belief, mutual recognition and the inner market, which it discovered the directive sought to protect.

The EU Digital Services Act package got here into force on November 16, 2022, with two main goals: “to create a safer digital house during which the basic rights of all customers of digital companies are protected” and “to determine a stage taking part in subject to foster innovation, development and competitiveness, each within the European Single Market and globally.”

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