On 28 September, the members of the European Parliament’s Internal market and Consumer protection committee (IMCO) have adopted the report of MEP Alex Agius Saliba (S&D, Malta) on the “Digital Services Act: Improving the functioning of the Single Market”. After months of discussions and over 900 amendments tabled by MEPs, FESI strongly welcomes this report which calls for strong obligations to protect consumers and combat the presence of illegal content online. FESI now looks forward to the Commission’s proposal which will hopefully take these legitimate concerns on board and should be published by the end of the year.  

Although non-binding, the IMCO report sets out clear recommendations to the Commission to address and tackle current shortcomings in the online environment, in view of the future proposal on the Digital Services Act (DSA) due to be presented by the end of the year. The committee recommendations touch upon a wide range of issues, including transparency and information obligations for online marketplaces, product safety online, the spread of illegal content online, artificial intelligence, effective enforcement and supervision measures, including fines, and ex-ante regulation to prevent market failures caused by big platforms.

FESI has always been strongly engaged in the fight against the presence of illegal products online, in particular counterfeit products that endanger consumers but also legitimate brands”, declared Jérôme Pero, FESI Secretary General. “Every year, the sporting goods industry loses 7,7 % of sales due to counterfeiting, which translates into EUR 1,1 billion of revenue, and more than 7 000 direct and indirect jobs losses. It is time for the EU to act with a strong legislation. And the DSA seems to be the best tool to do so”, he concluded.

FESI believes that the upcoming DSA represents a great opportunity to adopt a clear, proportionate, and updated legal framework creating a safe and sustainable digital environment for consumers, brands, and online platforms. Therefore, we strongly call[1] the EU to update the current EU rules and propose a holistic approach to tackle the sale and promotion of illegal content online, especially counterfeit products, through:

  1. Adopting proactive and preventing measures to fight against illegal products online
  2. Simplifying and harmonizing the notice and takedown procedures
  3. Introducing new transparency and information requirements for online marketplaces
  4. Optimizing use of technologies
  5. Strengthening information sharing with right holders

FESI would like to congratulate Mr Saliba for his hard work over the last months. By recommending the inclusion of specific and concrete rules in the DSA to tackle the spread of illegal content online, including counterfeits, the IMCO report is certainly a first and promising step in the right direction. We now call on all MEPs to approve this report at the plenary session in October and the Commission to take these recommendations into account in the drafting of its proposal.


[1] For more information, see FESI position paper: https://fesi-sport.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/FESI-Position-on-the-Digital-Services-Act-May-2020.pdf