June 2015

Beatrice Martinet co-authors “Liability of E-Commerce Platforms for Copyright and Trademark Infringement: A World Tour” for the ABA’s Landslide magazine


In a world without borders, such as the Internet, the liability of e-commerce platforms for third-party content is necessarily a global question. As Chinese platforms Alibaba and Taobao are acquiring exponential market shares in online distribution, and as European brands—notably in the luxury, cosmetics, and wine and food worlds—are gaining more and more traction in the U.S. online market, the question is no longer whether U.S. laws can offer protection to its national platforms or right holders, but rather what practices should U.S. platforms and right holders adopt to best limit their liability and protect their rights? The two parts of the article below offer different perspectives on this topic: the first focuses on the differences between the U.S. and European Union (EU) approaches to the liability of online marketplaces through a comparison of the Tiffany v. eBay (U.S.) and LVMH v. eBay (France) cases; the second part offers a brief world tour of Internet sales platform service provider (ISPP) liability via German, Swiss, and Chinese case law.