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The draft notice and action directive could itself be put under an internal block in the European Commission. The information is sketchy but it seems that the move follows copyright industry lobbying, forcing the Commission to back-peddle.

The notice and action directive would put in place a regime for content to be removed or taken down from and web sites and hosting platforms, if a complaint is issued against it on the grounds of illegality or breach of a right, such as copyright. It came onto the Commission's policy agenda at the instigation of the copyright industries and the major rights-holders.

The notice and action directive was being circulated for approval in the inter-stitial parts of the Commission. A draft of it was seen a few weeks ago by Iptegrity - see EU notice & action directive: its on the way .

But now I'm hearing the the directive has either been withdrawn, or will be withdrawn when Brussels gets back into full swing after the summer holidays.

Interestingly, the stop on the notice and action directive was placed at the instigation of the rights-holders, and not by the Internet industry or NGOs. According to Brussels insiders, the rights-holders were unhappy with some of the proposals in the directive.

Notably, they were opposed to the provision for a counter-notice. Their fear apparently was the the counter-notice could be strengthened in the European Parliament, giving more power to the web hosting companies and to the owners of the target websites.

Recognising that the political climate is not in their favour, post-ACTA, it is understood that they may have persuaded the Commission to withdraw the draft notice and action directive before it was officially announced.

By contrast, some of the NGO community are in favour of a notice and action directive, on the bases that it would provide more legal certainty for web hosts and website owners. However, they would like to see a mandatory court order being made part of the process. That is something which the rights-holders are absolutely opposed to.

It is not known who gave the order to withdraw it. Nor is it known how permanent the block is. The notice and action directive could potentially be revived after next years' European elections.

It is also suggested that the Commission will re-work it as a Recommendation instead of a Directive. A Recommendation is weaker, since it is not mandatory for Member States to implement it, but the argument in favour of going this route is that it will provide some guidance to the courts, and to domestic discussions in Member States.

Either way, as I've previously commented, it is a tough call for the Commission.Notice and action: the EU Commission's Damocles moment)

This is an original article from Iptegrity.com and reflects research that I have carried out. If you refer to it or to its content, please cite my name as the author, and provide a link back to iptegrity.com. Media and Academics - please cite as Monica Horten, 2013, Notice and action directive to be blocked as EU backs down, 28 July 2013. Commercial users - please contact me.

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About Iptegrity

Iptegrity.com is the website of Dr Monica Horten. I am an  independent policy advisor: online safety, technology and human rights. In April 2024, I was appointed as an independent expert on the Council of Europe Committee of Experts on online safety and empowerment of content creators and users. I am a published author, and post-doctoral scholar. I hold a PhD from the University of Westminster, and a DipM from the Chartered Institute of Marketing. I cover the UK and EU. I'm a former tech journalist, and an experienced panelist and Chair. My media credits include the BBC, iNews, Times, Guardian and Politico.

Iptegrity.com is made available free of charge for non-commercial use. Please link back and attribute Dr Monica Horten.  Contact me to use any of my content for commercial purposes.