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Maria Lillà Montagnani: “Virtues and Perils of Algorithmic Enforcement and Content Regulation in the EU – A Toolkit for a Balanced Algorithmic Copyright Enforcement”

Working Paper No. 02-2020

April 2020

Within the recent European policies and actions on illegal content, a trend towards algorithmic enforcement of content regulation has emerged. Regardless of the nature of the content, hard and soft law provisions more or less explicitly require online platforms to resort to technological systems to comply with the law. The use of technology to enforce the law is certainly not new, especially in the realm of copyright law. Copyright law is indeed the perfect example of how the adoption of technology by online intermediaries has over time altered the contours of the law itself. The last step in this process is the employment of algorithmic systems to filter content uploaded by third parties and the use of autonomous decision-making to select the content that can appear online. This controversial legislative move towards algorithmically enforcing legal rules and content regulation raises concerns not only as to its consistency with the current legal framework but also–and more worrisomely–as to its impact on individual rights and societal development in general. For this reason, this paper proposes a regulatory toolkit for a more balanced algorithmic copyright enforcement that could, hopefully, also provide insights for a better algorithmic society overall.

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