SAVE THE DATE | Online counterfeiting: How best to be effective countering it? (October 15)

We are delighted to invite you to a debate organised by PubAffairs Bruxelles which will be held on Monday the 15th of October at 19.00 at the premises of The Office, rue d’Arlon, 80, Brussels. The event will consist of a debate about online counterfeiting and the different mechanisms to deal with different types of illegal content online.

Although speakers and event details will be announced in the coming days, we are publishing this event now to make sure you save the date.

This event is kindly sponsored by

About the debate

The Directive on electronic commerce (E-Commerce Directive) of 8 June 2000 created the basic legal framework for online services, and provided legal certainty to businesses and citizens in cross-border online transactions. However, over the last decade, there have been increased discussions on how to prevent illegal products and services from being sold and distributed online. Related policy proposals and court judgments ranged from issues as diverse as child sexual abuse material, dissemination and removal of terrorist content online or hate speech, to commercial practices and infringements of intellectual property rights as well as selling of counterfeit or other illicit goods.

The E-Commerce Directive limits the liability of online companies, if they have no actual knowledge of illegal activities and then remove problematic content fast once they become aware of it. In addition, leading e-commerce companies have addressed the issue of counterfeiting online through voluntary engagement in cross-industry and institutional cooperation initiatives. For example, the European Commission’s Memorandum of Understanding on the sale of counterfeit goods via the internet (the MoU), first concluded in May 2011, brought together major online marketplaces and rights holders of products for which counterfeited and pirated versions may be sold online.

There is a great potential for close cooperation between brands and the e-commerce industry to tackle the issue jointly and collaboratively. Concrete results have been achieved. The Report on the functioning of the Memorandum of Understanding on the sale of counterfeit good via the internet of November 2017 showed that the MoU marketplace signatories eliminated nearly 99% of problematic content proactively, also thanks to a strong collaboration with the MoU brands.

In September 2017, the Commission adopted a Communication with guidance on the responsibilities of online service providers in respect of illegal content online, followed by a Recommendation on measures to effectively tackle illegal content online in March 2018. In April 2018, a Public consultation commenced on measures to improve the effectiveness of the fight against illegal content online. This aimed to gather opinions from all respondents about potential policy options that could address the challenges of illegal content online.

While the new Commission may need to decide whether to review the E-Commerce Directive or not, there is a growing concern that a “one-size-fits-all” mechanism is inadequate to deal with different types of illegal content on the internet, from counterfeiting to terrorism or hate speech.

Online counterfeiting: How best to be effective countering it?


This event will be held under the Chatham House Rule. Participants are free to use the information received but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the attendees may be revealed. For this reason, unless explicitly authorised by PubAffairs Bruxelles, the filming and/or the recording of the event by any means are strictly forbidden.


The event will commence with a welcome drink at 7h00pm, followed by a panel debate at 7.30pm. After the panel debate there will be an opportunity for questions and discussions.

We look forward to seeing you at 7h00pm on the 15th of October at The Office, rue d’Arlon, 80, Brussels.

All our debates are followed by a drink in a convivial atmosphere.