On the 14th of September 2022 the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen gave the annual state-of-the-EU speech, followed by the traditional publishing of the State of the Union Letter of Intent 2022 (which can be found here). The speech largely considered the geopolitical landscape, focusing on the Russia, Ukraine and the European reactions regarding energy prices.
However, the landmark agreements on the Digital Markets Act ("DMA") and Digital Services Act ("DSA") were both raised and the EU's ambitions to take a leadership position regarding the regulation of digital services and spaces (like the metaverse) were not forgotten and remain a key focus for legislative progress.
The European Commission has explicitly stated its intention to facilitate a metaverse that provides individuals security and aligns with European values. In particular, Commissioner Thierry Breton announced on 14 September 2022 at the Virtual and Augmented Reality Industrial Coalition (press release can be found here) that a European metaverse will not harbour private monopolies nor morph into a "new wild west" but remain a true public forum, in the hopes of firmly putting the Commission's mark on future innovation.
The DMA and DSA are focused on improving safety, protecting fundamental rights in digital environments, and ensuring a level playing field in the European Single Market. This may not be the only impact of the regulation as the Commission acknowledges in the Letter of Intent that this regulatory regime may also seek to regulate the nascent metaverse.
This commitment to the on-going regulatory structure of the DMA and DSA means that large technology and data driven companies will have new obligations covering monitoring and reviewing content, or checking on online traders on platforms and restricting online advertising based on certain kinds of data (see more on the new obligations here). Both the DMA and DSA are likely to have the most significant impact on very large online platforms and search engines.
If you would like to see a more in-depth summary of the DMA please see our previous post here.
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