Brussels, 27 April 2022
The Federation of the European Sporting Goods Industry (FESI) welcomes the provisional political agreement reached in the night of 22nd to 23rd April between the Parliament and the Council on the Digital Services Act (DSA) proposal. This paves the way for a safer and fairer online environment by strengthening online platforms’ liability regarding illegal content, especially counterfeit products.
“Less than 16 months after the Commission’s proposal, we are glad to see that the Parliament and the Council have managed to reach an agreement on the DSA. This regulation has been long-awaited by the sporting goods industry and FESI has been advocating hard to make sure the DSA effectively tackles the presence of counterfeit products online. Even if some points still need to be further clarified at a technical level, we are overall satisfied with the progress made so far”, commented Jérôme Pero, FESI Secretary-General.
In particular, FESI welcomes the fact that negotiators seemed to have found a common agreement to extend the “Trusted Flaggers” provision to individual rightsholders. In fact, as advocated by FESI, individual brands’ owners such as FESI members, are the best placed to determine the illegality of their own products and excluding them from the scope would have seriously undermined the efficiency of the provision. We now call for further clarification during the technical finalisation of the text to make sure the definition clearly removes any reference to “collective interests”.
FESI is also happy to see that online marketplaces will now have the obligation to inform their customers should they have bought an illegal product, such as a counterfeit. In fact, at the moment, misled consumers often blame the original brand for the bad quality of the illegal product they have purchased, although genuine brands have nothing to do with it.
While we welcome the fact that the Parliament’s proposal to keep reported illegal content online during the review process has been abandoned, we still regret that no stay-down obligation has been added to the notice and action mechanism. We also regret that the exemption foreseen in article 17 for micro and small enterprises has been maintained. As advocated in the past, the DSA’s obligations aim to be proportionate, and we see no reason why certain enterprises should not enforce the rules. If some platforms cannot be held accountable, there is a risk that counterfeiters move from the big ones to the smaller ones to sell their illegal products.
FESI is now looking forward to the finalisation of the technical work on the DSA with the hope that EU negotiators will truly fulfill their commitment to make sure “what is illegal offline is also illegal online”. FESI and its members will also continue to advocate for stronger EU legislation, policies and practices that better protect intellectual property rights, especially in view of the future toolbox against counterfeiting expected by the end of 2022.
Ariane Gatti – FESI Communication Manager / [email protected] / +32 2 274 08 94