The European Commission March 1 made five recommendations that could be used to target sales of counterfeit products online. The focus was larger than fakes, encompassing all illegal internet content, such as child pornography, scams, frauds, certain hate speech, and terrorist propaganda. Indeed, the last got additional ideas.
However, the overreaching steps (bit.ly/2D2zoGc) involved:
- Clarity: The government wants online platforms to have "easy and transparent" procedures for removing illegal content, including fast-track options for trusted parties. There should be steps to contest removals to protect legitimate content providers.
- Notification: Platforms should be proactive in notifying users and in removing illegal items. The EC urged aggression with content – such as counterfeit sales – for which the illicit nature does not depend on subjective context.
- Safeguards: Beyond protest processes mentioned above, there should be protections of rights, including sufficient oversight by humans of any automated controls.
- Small Companies: There should be sharing of best practices and other tools to aid entities that have limited resources.
- Authorities: Platforms should have procedures to communicate suspicions and evidence, especially for safety risks.
The commission warned it will "closely monitor" whether its recommendations are followed "and determine whether additional steps, including legislation, are required." It will launch a public consultation soon.
On counterfeits, it also pointed to advice in its intellectual property guidance issued last fall: bit.ly/2I3wtkl.