Did the Romans Get It Right? What Delfi, Google, eBay, and UPC TeleKabel Wien Have in Common

  • Peggy ValckeEmail author
  • Aleksandra Kuczerawy
  • Pieter-Jan Ombelet
Part of the Law, Governance and Technology Series book series (LGTS, volume 31)


This chapter provides an analysis of the recent landmark cases of the CJEU and ECtHR on the role and liability of Online Service Providers (OSPs) in policing content on the Internet. The authors assess legal arguments in Google France, eBay, UPC TeleKabel Wien and Delfi to discover how the rulings accommodate the right to freedom of expression and the safe harbours in the EU E-Commerce Directive. They examine how knowledge and awareness of illegal content impact the OSPs responsibilities and duties (of care) to restrict content. Finally, they seek guidance in Roman law and the concepts of ‘bonus pater familias’ and ‘bonus ac diligens scriptor’ to fully understand the position and the responsibilities of the OSPs.


European Union Hate Speech Safe Harbour Grand Chamber Online Service Provider 
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Case Law

  1. CJEU Google France SARL v. Centre national de recherche en relations humaines (CNRRH) SARL (Joined cases C-236/08 to C-238/08) ECLI:EU:C:2010:159Google Scholar
  2. CJEU L’Oréal SA v. Ebay International AG (C-324/09) ECLI:EU:C:2011:474Google Scholar
  3. CJEU Scarlet Extended SA v. Société belge des auteurs, compositeurs et éditeurs SCRL (SABAM) (C-70/10) ECLI:EU:C:2011:771Google Scholar
  4. CJEU Belgische Vereniging van Auteurs, Componisten en Uitgevers CVBA (SABAM) v. Netlog NV (C-360/10) ECLI:EU:C:2012:85Google Scholar
  5. CJEU UPC Telekabel Wien GmbH v. Constantin Film Verleih GmbH (C-314/12) ECLI:EU:C:2014:192Google Scholar
  6. CJEU Sotiris Papasavvas v. O Fileleftheros Dimosia Etairia Ltd (C-291/13) ECLI:EU:C:2014:2209Google Scholar
  7. ECtHR (Grand Chamber) 16 June 2015, Delfi AS v. Estonia (no. 65469/09)Google Scholar
  8. ECtHR 2 February 2016, Magyar Tartalomszolgaltatok Egyesülete and ZRT v. Hungary (no. 22947/13)Google Scholar


  1. Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (Directive on electronic commerce). O.J. 2000, L 178/1Google Scholar

Ethical Codes

  1. BBC. Editorial Guidelines – Section 17: Interacting with our audiences.
  2. Finnish Council for Mass Media. 2011. Guidelines for Journalists – Annex: Material generated by the public on a media website.
  3. Flemish Council for Journalism. 2010. Code of Practice.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Peggy Valcke
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aleksandra Kuczerawy
    • 1
  • Pieter-Jan Ombelet
    • 1
  1. 1.University of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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