The sharing economy at the CJEU: does Airbnb pass the ‘Uber test’? (Aug 2018)

  • The sharing economy at the CJEU: does Airbnb pass the 'Uber test'? - Some observations on the pending case C-390/18 - Airbnb Ireland

  • By Christoph Busch. Published in the 7 Journal of European Consumer and Market Law, on 25 August 2018

  • Abstract:

    • The rise of digital platforms such as Uber and Airbnb has sparked a controversy about how to fit the new business models into existing legal categories and whether there is a need to adapt the regulatory framework to the new platform economy.

    • In December 2017, in a much publicised judgment, the CJEU [European Court of Justice, ECJ] held that Uber is not a just a digital intermediary providing ‘information society services’, but a transport service provider.

    • Consequently, according to the CJEU, Uber does not benefit from the ‘internal market clause in Article 3(2) of Directive 2000/31/EC, which precludes Member States from restricting the freedom to provide cross-border information society services.

    • While Uber has discontinued its services in several EU Member States, the focus of the regulatory battle is now shifting towards short-term rental platforms.

    • Thus, on 16 July 2018, the European Commission and a phalanx of national consumer authorities have called on Airbnb to comply with EU consumer law rules.

    • At the same time, Member States are tightening their regulatory grip on short-term rentals.

    • Now, the first request for a preliminary ruling concerning Airbnb has reached the CJEU. The brief case note provides some very first reflections on the pending case.

  • Keywords: EU, European Union, European Court of Justice, ECJ, Court of Justice of the EU, CJEU, EC, European Commission, EP, European Parliament, Uber, Airbnb, single digital market, gig-economy, sharing economy

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