C4C Statement on the Political Agreement on the EU Digital Services Act (DSA)

Following the political agreement reached between the EU institutions during the 5th and final trilogue negotiations on the Digital Services Act (DSA) on 22-23 April, the Coalition for Creativity (C4C) would like to express its initial disappointment about potential pitfalls in this regulation.

Ms Caroline De Cock, C4C Coordinator, said:

“The DSA political agreement lacks user safeguards and continues to push vague concepts open to dangerous misinterpretations. The pursuit of a quick deal under the French Council Presidency, ahead of the 2nd round of the Presidential elections, at the expense of upholding fundamental rights is questionable at best and counterproductive at worst.

Last minute attempts by certain stakeholders to transform search engines in dangerous censorship tools were thankfully deflected, even though one has to wonder how these repeated jabs at freedom of speech are even allowed to pop up.

Once again, users have been left out and sidelined in a debate on important concepts, such a preserving their freedom of expression and access to information online. One can only hope that the DSA will not end up empowering less democratic regimes to exercise control over the speech of citizens outside of their Member State borders.

The EU has once more failed in truly stepping up to the plate in its role as a global actor and a guardian of fundamental rights. One can only fear the ripple effects the DSA will have on the policy agendas of other geographies, as has been notably evidenced following the adoption of the Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market and national legislation, such as the German NetzDG.

This is notably the case with the introduction of a crisis mechanism that could potentially be easily misused.

The expected compliance burden will be so high that the DSA risks consolidating Big Tech’s position to the detriment of smaller players, annihilating any positive market effects stemming from the DMA.

It remains to be seen if the SME exemption recognizes the need to recognizes the need to handle not-for-profit players, such as educational and scientific repositories, digital archives and libraries, differently, or merely creates a gaping loophole to the sole benefit of commercial entities.

Finally, C4C believes that in fine-tuning and applying the rules in practice, the European Commission and national regulators will need to ask and listen to the input of civil society, especially as it pertains to key fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and access to information.”