The European Commission is about to start a new legislative debate regarding Internet hosting providers – services that are hosting and make information available online. These providers have been protected since 2000 by the E-Commerce Directive, when the Internet was maybe a less complex thing to address through legislation. The rules were simple: hosting services are not liable for information they store if they stay “passive” – if they do nothing more than storing information provided by their users.
Since 2000, new actors like Facebook and Google have appeared and raised new issues, both legal and political. Are these new platforms really “passive”? Have they became too big? Should they be fixed, destroyed, left? The Commission is willing to gather opinions from as many actors as possible. It is quite hard to guess what will arise from that. But the issues at stake are so complex and affect so many things that it may lead to one of the most impactful piece of European legislation. Our answer to the Commission’s consultation is short and simple.