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date: 14 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter summarizes recent developments in intermediary liability theory with special emphasis on the emergence of voluntary measures and private ordering. Looking at the legal liability rules always tells only half of a story. Legal rules are often only basic expectations which are further developed through market transactions, business decisions, and political pressure. Therefore, the real responsibility landscape is equally determined by a mixture of voluntary agreements, self-regulation, corporate social responsibility, and ad hoc deal-making. Accountability schemes can differ significantly, ranging from legal entitlements to request assistance in enforcement to entirely voluntary private-ordering schemes. This chapter provides a mapping of these basic approaches in order to illustrate the richness and trade-offs associated with such measures. Miscellaneous policy and enforcement tools, such as monitoring and filtering, graduated response, payment blockades and follow-the-money strategies, private denial of service (DNS) content regulation, and online search manipulation, are discussed to complement the typical legal liability view of the regulation of intermediaries. The discussion of these enforcement strategies will be framed within the investigation of notions such as market and private ordering, corporate social responsibility, assistance in enforcement of a innocent third party made accountable although not liable and public deal-making.

Keywords: online intermediaries, private enforcement, liability, responsibility, accountability, market, self-regulation, voluntary measures, corporate social responsibility, public deal-making

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