Research Handbooks in European Law series
Edited by Andrej Savin and Jan Trzaskowski
Chapter 3: EU Internet law in the era of convergence: the interplay with EU telecoms and media law
The growing convergence between IT, telecoms and media technologies and markets over the past decade means that it no longer makes much sense to distinguish technologically between information technology services, telecommunication services and media services. Most services today combine all three: for example, video-on-demand services, such as Netflix or HBO, who provide media content (film, TV series and so on) which are distributed over telecommunications networks (the Internet, mobile networks and so on) and are received by the user via various IT equipment (PC, tablet, smartphones, smart-TV and so on). The convergence also makes it increasingly more difficult to make legal distinctions between IT, telecoms and media services. The EU has taken notice of this by seeking to make ICT regulation technology neutral and by drafting or amending EU Internet, telecoms and media regulation in the light of convergence. Nevertheless, the legal structure in EU ICT regulation is still based on the assumption that it is not only possible, but also appropriate to continue to operate with three different legal concepts (information society services, electronic communications services and audiovisual media services), and thus three different regulations: the E-Commerce Directive, the Telecoms Directive package and the Audiovisual Media Service Directive. It is not without practical importance whether a given service falls under the one or the other regulation.
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