#AFS

Making the Digital Services Act 4 Startups

April 17, 2020

The Allied for Startups Team is embarking on a mission to make the upcoming Digital Services Act startup-friendly! Our mission is to bring the voices of startup entrepreneurs and ecosystem builders to EU policy makers with the goal of co-creating rules that empower startups. 

We believe that the Digital Services Act is an opportunity to ensure a free and open platform economy that will benefit both startup entrepreneurs and users across the globe. 

Why? Because the Digital Services Act has the potential to be the cornerstone of an open platform economy that protects and promotes innovation and European values. Our free internet economy has enabled the creation of many new services and products for the benefit of societies across Europe and it has the potential to make Europe an international innovation hub. 

 What’s the Digital Services Act? The Digital Services Act will update the EU legal framework for online platforms regarding user-generated online content, which could be reviews, ratings, third-party sellers, search functions, shared files and much more. In other words, this will affect all-things-digital.

Why is it important for startups? Rules should empower startups across Europe and beyond as they scale-up, based on a firm understanding of their current and future value for European economies. 

However, the new legislation could undercut the current framework and add burdensome requirements for startups. Startup entrepreneurs want rules they can be compliant with from day one. Not being able to do so would hamper their possibility to enter new markets and to bring new choices to users. Countless opportunities for innovation would not even be considered if the new law changes the core principles of the digital economy. 

At Allied for Startups, we want to build a platform economy that enables startups to thrive in Europe and beyond.

How? By hearing from you, startup entrepreneurs – through a series of webinars and events with our member associations across Europe and the US, connecting startup entrepreneurs, ecosystem builders and policy makers. 

Our goals: 

1) Inform and discuss the impacts of key legislative issues with startup entrepreneurs

2) Develop a coordinated response with startup communities to make sure policymakers are hearing us loud and clear!

3) Collect and share facts and concrete platform startup examples with policymakers

What will we be discussing? 

Platform intermediary Liability – An overhauled and harmonised EU intermediary liability exemption can provide more legal clarity and simplicity for innovative startups. It’s the cornerstone of a functioning platform economy. 

General Monitoring: The prohibition of general monitoring obligation is fundamental for startups. Forcing platform startups to monitor all third-party online content would fundamentally interfere with the viability of their business models. 

Country of origin – Startups should be subject to the intermediary liability rules in the Member State they are operating from and not be restricted in their choice of new markets and growth. This provides paramount legal certainty that they need to be able to scale cross-borders.

Sandboxes – Regulatory sandboxes provide a powerful toolkit for the application of a startup-friendly intermediary liability exemption. They should be developed at EU level. 

Incentives for startups – Platform startups should have legal incentives to remove illegal content online without having to worry about incurring extra liability.

It is crucial to make sure startup entrepreneurs are directly involved in the conversation on rules that allow them to scale in Europe and beyond. That way, we can ensure that Europe keeps building a conducive environment for groundbreaking innovation and is home to user-centric technologies. 

Do you want to be involved? This piece of legislation is currently in the pipeline which means startups can have a voice in its formation. Let’s not wait until it’s too late, let’s give startups a voice in the debate now. Please get in touch if you would like to take part in our #DSA4startups campaign!