The European Court of Justice (“ECJ”) has ruled that the popular accommodation website and app, Airbnb, is a provider of information society services (Airbnb Ireland, Case C-390/18) as defined in the E-Commerce Directive (Directive 2000/31/EC).
The ruling follows a request for a preliminary ruling from the Tribunal de Grande Instance de Paris, and provides useful guidance relating to the criteria to apply when assessing whether a service is, or is not, an information society service.
The ECJ found that the nature of the links between Airbnb’s intermediation service, and its accommodation service, “does not justify departing from the classification of that intermediation service as an information society service'”.
The question before the French court is whether Airbnb should be subject to the Hoguet Law, which regulates estate agency in France, as argued by a French tourism body. The effect of Airbnb being an information society service is that, subject to exceptions which require notification to the European Commission, pursuant to the E-Commerce Directive, Airbnb’s service will not be subject to national member state regulation.
The ECJ’s full decision can be read here.
Please contact Jose Saras should you have any questions relating to the Airbnb decision.