Main concepts

The Digital Services Act (DSA) defines a broad set of concepts for the purposes of its application1.

Some of the key concepts are as follows:

Intermediary service: one of the following information society services:

i) a “mere conduit” service, consisting of the transmission in a communication network of information provided by a recipient of the service, or the provision of access to a communication network. This includes generic categories of services, such as internet exchange points, wireless access points, virtual private networks, DNS services and resolvers, top-level domain name registries, registrars, certificate authorities that issue digital certificates, voice over IP and other interpersonal communication services.

ii) a "caching" service, consisting of the transmission in a communication network of information provided by a recipient of the service, involving the automatic, intermediate and temporary storage of that information, performed for the sole purpose of making more efficient the information's onward transmission to other recipients upon their request. This includes the sole provision of content delivery networks, reverse proxies or content adaptation proxies. Such services are crucial to ensure the smooth and efficient transmission of information delivered on the internet

iii) a "hosting" service, consisting of the storage of information provided by, and at the request of, a recipient of the service2. This includes categories of services such as cloud computing, web hosting, paid referencing services or services enabling the sharing of information and content online, including file storage and sharing.

Online platform: a hosting service that, at the request of a recipient of the service, stores and disseminates information to the public, unless that activity is a minor and purely ancillary feature of another service or a minor functionality of the principal service and, for objective and technical reasons, cannot be used without that other service, and the integration of the feature or functionality into the other service is not a means to circumvent the applicability of the DSA3.

Online search engine: an intermediary service that allows users to input queries in order to perform searches of, in principle, all websites, or all websites in a particular language, on the basis of a query on any subject in the form of a keyword, voice request, phrase or other input, and returns results in any format in which information related to the requested content can be found4.

Illegal content: any information that, in itself or in relation to an activity, including the sale of products or the provision of services, is not in compliance with Union law or the law of any Member State which is in compliance with Union law, irrespective of the precise subject matter or nature of that law5.

Digital services coordinator: entity designated by each Member State as responsible for all matters relating to supervision and enforcement of the DSA in that Member State, unless the Member State concerned has assigned certain specific tasks or sectors to other competent authorities. The Digital Services Coordinator shall in any event be responsible for ensuring coordination at national level in respect of those matters and for contributing to the effective and consistent supervision and enforcement of the DSA throughout the Union6.

Digital Services Coordinator of destination – the Digital Services Coordinator of the Member State where the intermediary service is provided7;

Digital Services Coordinator of establishment – the Digital Services Coordinator of the Member State where the main establishment of an intermediary service provider is located, or where its legal representative resides or is established8.

Competent authorities: authorities responsible for the supervision of intermediary service providers and enforcement of the DSA in each Member State9.

Recipient of the service: any natural or legal person who uses an intermediary service, in particular for the purposes of seeking information or making information accessible10.

1 Article 3 of the DSA.
2 Article 3, paragraph g, of the DSA.
3 Article 3, paragraph i, of the DSA.
4 Article 3, paragraph j, of the DSA.
5 Article 3, paragraph h, of the DSA.
6 Article 49(2) of the DSA.
7 Article 3, paragraph o, of the DSA.
8 Article 3, paragraph n, of the DSA.
9 Article 49(1) of the DSA.
10 Article 3, paragraph b, of the DSA.