Monday, 8 July 2013

EP in the clouds

On 25 June, the Legal Affairs Committee of the European Parliament published a draft opinion on the European Commission's Communication 'Unleashing the Potential of Cloud Computing in Europe'. The Committee's suggestions are summarised as follows:

'The Committee on Legal Affairs calls on the Committee on Industry, Research and Energy, as the committee responsible, to incorporate the following suggestions in its motion for a resolution:
1. Urges the Commission to take action to further harmonise laws across the Member States in order to avoid jurisdictional confusion and fragmentation and to improve the transparency of the digital single market;
2. Calls on the Commission to review other EU legislation to address gaps related to cloud computing; calls, in particular, for the revision of the intellectual property rights regime, the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, the Unfair Contract Terms Directive and the E-Commerce Directive, which are the most relevant pieces of EU legislation that apply to cloud computing;
3. Calls on the Commission to establish a clear legal framework in the field of copyright content in the cloud, especially with regard to licensing regulations;
4. Stresses that, owing to uncertainties regarding applicable law and jurisdiction, contracts are the main tools for establishing relations between cloud providers and their customers, and that there is therefore a clear need for common European guidelines in that field;
5. Calls on the Commission to work together with the Member States to develop European best practice models for contracts, or ‘model contracts’, that will ensure complete transparency by providing all terms and conditions in a very clear format;
6. Calls on the Commission to develop, together with stakeholders, voluntary certification schemes for provider security systems which would help to harmonise practices across cloud providers and which would make clients more aware of what they should expect from cloud service providers;
7. Stresses that, owing to jurisdiction problems, European consumers are in practice unlikely to be able to seek redress from cloud services providers in other jurisdictions; calls therefore, on the Commission to provide adequate means for redress in the consumer services area, since there is a strong imbalance of power between consumers and providers of cloud computing;
8. Calls on the Commission to ensure a speedy implementation of Alternative Dispute Resolution and Online Dispute Resolution and to make sure that consumers are equipped with adequate means of collective redress against security and privacy breaches as well as against illegal contract provisions for cloud services.'

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