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How the EU’s newly proposed Digital Services Act could benefit the sports industry

How the EU’s newly proposed Digital Services Act could benefit the sports industry
By Francine Cunningham, Conor Hume

In a bid to achieve "technological sovereignty", the European Commission has unveiled a wide-ranging package of proposals that will provide a new rulebook for online platforms offering goods and services in Europe. The Digital Services Act (DSA) package published in Brussels on 15 December is the boldest initiative to date in an ongoing global conversation about the role and responsibilities of online platforms.[1]

Two linked proposals are contained in the legislative package: a Digital Services Act, which proposes new content moderation rules and could give media companies new tools in their fight against illegal content online; and a Digital Markets Act which proposes ex-ante rules for very large "gatekeeper" platforms and is designed to complement competition law.

This article explains the key measures proposed in the DSA, which will introduce a horizontal framework for all categories of content, products, services and activities on intermediary services. The article also considers how some of the measures could have positive implications for the sports sector, as well as areas where sports rights owners are likely to press for more clarification. Specifically it looks at:

  • Overview of the Commission’s proposal
  • Reasons for introducing the DSA
  • Potential impact on the sports industry
  • Next steps towards implementation

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About the Author

Francine Cunningham

Francine Cunningham

Francine is the Senior Public Affairs Manager, Bird & Bird LLP (Brussels).  She leads the regulatory and public affairs practice in Brussels at a time of huge legislative challenges that will define the future of the digital economy. Working at the intersection of politics, bureaucracy and business reality, Francine advises clients on how to navigate complex EU decision-making processes to achieve specific industry goals.
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Conor Hume

Conor Hume

Conor is an Associate, Sports Team, Bird & Bird LLP (London) who takes a solution-based approach to advising clients on key commercial issues, predominantly in the media and sports sectors.
 

Conor trained with Bird & Bird and qualified into the sports team in 2020. He is experienced in advising on sports-related commercial issues and has acted for a wide range of entities within the sporting ecosystem including governing bodies, event organisers, clubs, commercial sponsors, broadcasters and betting companies. Conor's practice covers an extensive range of sports such as football, rugby union, cricket, tennis, athletics and esports.

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