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Notice-and-action Procedures

In January 2012 the Commission announced an initiative on “notice-and-action” procedures in the Communicationpdf on e-Commerce and other online services. “Notice-and-action” procedures begin when someone notifies a hosting service provider – for instance a social network, an e-commerce platform or a company that hosts websites – about illegal content on the internet. Such content could be, for example, racist content, child abuse content or spam. The procedures are concluded when a hosting service provider acts against the alleged illegal content.

Article 14 of the e-Commerce Directivepdf provides a basis for the development of these procedures, but does not regulate them in detail. In response to the 2010 public consultation on e-Commerce, stakeholders have indicated that these procedures should lead to a quicker takedown of illegal content, should better respect fundamental rights (in particular the freedom of expression) and should increase legal certainty for online intermediaries.

A clean and open Internet: public consultation on procedures for dealing with illegal content on the Internet

On 4 June 2012, the European Commission launched a public consultation on procedures for notifying and acting on illegal content hosted by online intermediaries. The Commission wants to collect comments from all stakeholders on how this can best be achieved. The consultation covers the issue of notification of illegal content: for example, should all hosting service providers put in place mechanisms to notify illegal content that are easy to find and easy to use? And if so, should illegal content exclusively be notified by such mechanisms? The consultation also covers the issue of acting on illegal content: for instance, should hosting service providers consult the providers of alleged illegal content? Should they provide feedback to notice providers?

Attention: A number of respondents have experienced technical problems while trying to respond to the public consultation. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused by such problems. It has been decided to extend the deadline for submitting a response until Tuesday 11 September 2012.

The public consultation is available at:

Background documents: