Influencers on Social media – Between Law and Ethics

25 September 2018, Brown Bag Lunch
12.15-13.45, MakerSpace (room beside Mensa), University of St. Gallen

Social media has been changing the way in which people communicate, and that is nothing new. The emergence of platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Youtube or – more recently –Musical.ly has transformed social interaction in peer-networks. This transformation can be noticed by anyone participating in or observing such networks. What is less noticeable, though, is how business models have changed to benefit from these shifts in social trends.

One industry where business practices have been fundamentally impacted is the advertising industry. While in the early days of social media marketing, social networks were used to establish online brand identity, since 2015 a new advertising concept has been sweeping the online space: influencer marketing. Based on peer empowerment – anyone with a camera and internet connection can start producing content for an online social media platform, influencer marketing is to social media what native advertising is to the news world. Persons with well- followed social media accounts lend their brand image for the endorsement of goods or services, while rarely – if at all – disclosing that their support does not necessarily entail genuine appreciation for the endorsed things, but that such support is paid or bartered for.

This event aims to discuss influencer marketing using insights from private law, ethics as well as journalistic practice. Register by sending an e-mail to isabel.ebert@unisg.ch by 23 September. Exceptionally, Skype connections may also be available for streaming.

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Judges training on private enforcement after the Antitrust Damages Directive

by Maria Geilmann and Caroline Cauffman

On 30 November and 1 December 2017, Maastricht University and Lexxion publishers organized a high level seminar aimed at the training of national judges in the private enforcement of competition law after the implementation of the Antitrust Damages Directive (Directive 2014/104/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 26 November 2014 on certain rules governing actions for damages under national law for infringements of the competition law provisions of the Member States and of the European Union Text with EEA relevance OJ L 349, 5.12.2014, p. 1–19). The training was co-financed by the European Commission as a part of the project of the Directorate-General for Competition “Training of national judges and judicial cooperation in the field of EU competition law”.

After an introduction by dr. Caroline Cauffman (Maastricht University) and prof. em. Jacques Steenbergen (Belgian Competition Authority), Johannes Holzwarth and Hans-Petter Hanson (Officials of the European Commission), gave an overview of the state of play of the transposition in the Member States. Most Member States have transposed the Directive, only three Member States still need to do so (Greece, Portugal and Bulgaria). Currently, the Commission is checking the transposition in terms of completeness, in a second stage, it will check the conformity of the transposition with the Directive. The Commission officials also presented the current state of their guidelines on the passing-on effect and they gave us a very detailed presentation on the economic aspects of passing-on.

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10 Years After Romania’s Accesion to the EU: European Contract Law (Doctrinal and Empirical Observations)


The Maastricht European Private Law Institute and the Legal Research Institute of the Romanian Academy (Centre for the Study of European Law – CSDE) are organising a conference on current issues of European contract law. 2017 marks a decade after Romania’s accession to the European Union, which is a meaningful moment for legal researchers to evaluate various aspects in different sub-areas of private law with respect to the development of the Romanian legal system as a legal system of the European Union.

The conference will include both doctrinal and empirical observations on European contract law. At the same time, the conference will serve as a dissemination platform for the first empirical study on the application of European law by Romanian national judges.

The event will also honour Prof. Nicolae Turcu, the former president of the Romanian Legislative Council’s Civil Law Section, who passed away earlier this year, to the grief of both legal academia and practice.

The full programme of the event can be found here (in Romanian/English).

Registration requests can be sent to ardae2007@gmail.com until 20 October 2017.

The conference is free of charge.

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New community research initiative: The European Law&Tech Network

While many decades ago, the field of law and technology was focused on the study of intellectual property, more recently, legal scholars have extended their interest in technology to other fields such as the regulation and governance of the Internet, privacy and cybersecurity, data collection, digital platforms, artificial intelligence, and blockchain. The European Law and Technology Network brings together scholars from different nationalities and fields of research that are trying to understand how technology works and how law should respond to its challenges. The European Law and Technology Network is an initiative of two scholars affiliated with Dutch universities: Sofia Ranchordas has published extensively on the regulation of digital platforms and comparative public law. She is currently based at Leiden Law School and as of October 1st, 2017, she will be Chair of European & Comparative Public Law and Rosalind Franklin Fellow at Groningen Law School. Sofia is also affiliated with the Information Society Project at Yale Law School. Catalina Goanta is an Assistant Professor of Private Law and affiliated MEPLI researcher who writes on consumer law, innovation policy, and is behind a number of local and international law and technology initiatives.

So far the network has gathered over 240 scholars from 22 European and Middle Eastern countries.

For more information on the Network and the opportunity to join it, have a look at its website.

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Innovating Private Law: On Law and Technology (Pavia, 8 February)

On 8 February I had the pleasure to accompany Jan Smits for a visit to Pavia, where we gave a presentation titled ‘Innovating Private Law: On Law and Technology’, on the third day of the Innovating Legal Studies and Practice Winter School 2017.

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A (Uniquely Unqualified American) Reflection of the EU&ME Summit

fullsizerenderThe EU&ME Summit (part of the Europe Calling! initiative) held on 9 December 2016 to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the Maastricht Treaty was the event of the season. As an American that somehow wandered into this event, I was quite amused by Maastricht’s Mayor, Annemarie Penn-te Strake, and her welcoming speech that – among other delights – quoted former US President George Bush, who stated that the birth of the EU was something that was great for the entire world. As a happy migrant living in the Netherlands and working in the EU, I wholeheartedly concur with our former President and I feel extremely privileged – not just for having attended the summit, but more generally – to be living and working in Maastricht, the birthplace of the EU.

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