Back to main site


    Module 3: Content Restrictions and Intermediary Liability

    Content based restrictions(1) can be imposed on the basis they are required to tackle harms arising from user-generated content, or because they interfere with a countervailing right to that of freedom of expression, such as the right to reputation.(2)

    The nature of these restrictions can vary in form, from take down notices issued for online content, to imposing certain duties on intermediaries. This module aims to look at the different methods of applying those restrictions, with a focus on relevant precedents from the European Court of Human Rights (‘ECtHR’), and the Court of Justice of the European Union (‘CJEU’).

    There have been developments on content restriction at the EU level recently. The E-Commerce Directive(3) (the ECD) had previously provided exemptions to intermediary services from civil and other liabilities if they met certain conditions. Now, the Digital Services Act (the DSA) provides those exemptions. At the Council of Europe level, the main developments have been at the ECtHR, which has, in recent years, published a number of important, and controversial, decisions on content moderation, as it seeks to balance the right to privacy or other countervailing rights, with the right to freedom of expression.

    This module will consider those decisions as well as other developments in the area of intermediary liability.


    1. Global Network Initiative, Intermediary Liability & Content Regulation, (accessible at Back
    2. Ibid. Back
    3. Directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 8 June 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (accessible at Back