Together Against Counterfeiting Alliance calls for ambitious proactive measures against online counterfeiting in upcoming Digital Services Act (DSA)
The Together Against Counterfeiting (TAC) Alliance, which brings together nearly 100 companies across all industrial sectors and over 20 trade associations and NGOs, welcomes the adoption by the European Parliament’s plenary of three own initiative reports on the Digital Services Act (DSA). While we salute the call for stricter and horizontal rules online, we believe that the current set of proposals will not be sufficient to prompt online actors to adequately address the worrying growth of counterfeit goods online.
Making up for almost 7% of all European imports in 2016, counterfeiting has increased by almost 40% since 2016, a large part of which is due to e-commerce, where illegal businesses easily escape from the rules applying in the offline world. This has been further emphasised during the COVID-19 outbreak, with millions of fake goods (including medical products) sold online. Counterfeiting not only threatens consumers’ health, it also hurts Europe’s economy and jobs.
TAC members therefore urge the European Commission to take a more ambitious approach and update the current regulatory framework, which is only based on voluntary and reactive actions, intervening only once illegal products have already been bought several times.
To prevent both the appearance and reappearance of illegal products online, we call on the introduction of binding obligations for all online actors to deploy proactive and “stay-down” measures. Technological tools exist and their use in the context of the fight against illegal products online does not put at any risk the fundamental freedoms of individuals online.
We believe the future DSA should include the following provisions:
- A horizontal and binding “duty of care” obligation for intermediaries to deploy proactive and “stay-down” measures, to prevent the (re)appearance of illegal goods online.
- An obligation for intermediaries to verify the identity of their sellers through a “Know Your Business Customer” obligation.
- New transparency and information requirements for online platforms, including an obligation to inform consumers when they have been exposed to illegal goods.
- A harmonised and workable set of notice and takedown procedures across the EU.
- The DSA’s guiding principle of “what is illegal offline is illegal online”, based on the 2018 Recommendation on illegal content online.
“The EU cannot miss this opportunity to make sure that there is more transparency and accountability online to help legitimate actors flourish,” said Måns Sjöstrand, Global Head of IP & Brand Protection at Daniel Wellington, a Swedish watch maker. “It’s also an essential milestone to protect European consumers in all spheres of life and create a safe and trusted digital ecosystem.” he added.
The Together Against Counterfeiting (TAC) Alliance brings together almost 100 companies from all industrial sectors, with the support of over 20 trade associations and NGOs. Our purpose is to raise awareness about the impact of the worrying growth of counterfeiting and push for the adoption of immediate, horizontal and ambitious legislative solutions at European level.
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