The collaborative economy legal conundrum: A way forward through harmonization

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Series Details Volume 45, Number 4, Pages 375-396
Publication Date December 2018
ISSN 1566-6573
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The collaborative economy has recently arisen as a new phenomenon, disrupting some of the most consolidated acquisitions of the European Union’s internal market. At the national level, tribunals, legislatures and municipalities have to cope with new regulatory challenges for which old patterns are no longer suitable. Consumers and economic operators, in turn, are exploiting the countless opportunities the collaborative economy brings.

Against this background, this article will be structured as follows. First, it will identify the constitutive elements of the collaborative economy, linking them to the completion of the EU digital single market in light of the judgments involving Uber recently delivered by the Court of Justice of the European Union. Second, since the Italian Parliament has a legislative proposal in the pipeline aimed at boosting the collaborative economy and at regulating online platforms, this specific national experience will be taken as a model for a possible EU regulatory intervention. Third, taking stock of that element, this article will argue in favour of an EU legislative act in the form of a directive that would regulate at least the most controversial aspects of the collaborative economy. In conclusion, this article will forward the argument that such a directive would benefit both operators and consumers, enhancing transparency in online transactions as well as improving legal certainty.

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