On 3 October 2019, the CJEU handed down its judgment in Eva Glawischnig-Piesczek v Facebook Ireland Limited. The landmark decision means that the rule against general monitoring obligations (Article 15 of the E-Commerce Directive) does not preclude EU member states’ national courts from ordering hosting platforms like Facebook to take down illegal user-generated content, as well as any content which is ‘identical’ or ‘equivalent’ to content which has previously been declared illegal, on an on-going, world-wide basis.
Aside from potentially creating on-going monitoring obligations for platforms, the decision has been accused of paving the way to global censorship by bringing the loosely defined concepts of ‘identical’ and ‘equivalent’ content within the remit of what platforms can be required to police, and allowing censorship-prone countries to impose their laws worldwide.
This note discusses the decision, its shortcomings and its potential wider impact. As always, a pleasure collaborating with my colleague @Carolyn Pepper, this time to dissect the wider implications of this judgment in our recent client alert.