- A bloc of broadcasters, rightsholders, brand owners, and anti-piracy organizations are pushing for KYBC rules.
- The coalition lobbies for the strengthening of some parts of the ‘Digital Services Act’ legislation package.
- The main demand is to broaden the “know your business customer” requirements to cover all internet entities.
A coalition of anti-piracy groups and copyright holders and those who have interests in protecting brands are lobbying to push the European Commission to adopt stricter KYBC (know your business customer) regulations for internet platforms. The obvious target is pirate sites hiding behind anonymity and continuing to operate, making money on the backs of creators. Even when some of these sites are blocked, the teams behind them migrate elsewhere and use a different name and domain since they are never identified, arrested, and prosecuted.
Anonymity is a fundamental component of privacy, so outlawing it has always been complicated, no matter what interests these groups are looking to protect. It is a matter of priorities and value, and the fundamental right to privacy is siphoning all relevant arguments down to a complex legal space. However, that is not to say that legislators aren’t trying to clear up the smoke and introduce something that works well in most cases, at least.
The ‘Digital Services Act’ (DSA), which is currently under tentative consideration, is aspiring to deal with a broad range of matters, and the anti-piracy groups are seeing an opportunity to enrich it with KYBC requirements. More specifically, they ask the EU to expand the provisions of Article 22, making the collection of KYBC data obligatory not only by online marketplaces but by any internet service provider, including hosting services, online advertising companies, proxies and payment gateways, etc.
Also, they are asking the EU to ramp up the efforts to enforce Article 5 of the e-Commerce Directive, which requires businesses to identify themselves. This directive has been around since June 2000, but it is largely ignored.
To increase the pressure, the coalition has set up a website where members can join and co-sign the proposal for a solution, promote case studies and research that supports their position, and publish open letters to the EU Council and the EU Parliament. The list of signatories in these letters is far too extensive to mention here, but we can say it includes Sky, MPA, Philips, Heineken, BBC Studios, Lionsgate, BREIN, the WFA, and the Rights Alliance.
Whether or not the EU Commission will succumb to this lobbying or ignore the requests we will have to wait and see. The legislative proposal of the Digital Services Act is no longer under development, but that doesn’t mean it cannot get corrections or additions. The final voting by the EU Council and the EU Parliament is expected to take place by next summer, so there’s still time.