Challenges and legal issues of modern sharing economy
AbstractGrowing popularity of sharing economy is a phenomenon one cannot simply ignore. Sharing services’ market has nowadays arose to enormous sizes and has become part of many people’s everyday lifes. Basing on the cooperation of the consumers and service providers, being assisted by the intermediary (digital platforms), it brings together demand and supply in a low-cost model. It has proven, that such economy model is advantageous not only for the individuals receiving access to tangible and intangible assets, or, on the other hand- creating profits from underutilised goods, but also for the whole economy- creating new markets and boosting its development. As, according to numerous researches and surveys, it shall be expanding even more in the future, appropriate steps should be taken, to address issues, it is and will be creating. As sharing economy is present in almost every part of nowadays societies’ life, challenging will be all regulation matters, starting from definitional issues, through data protection, tax or labour law, to even most specific laws functioning in any country all over the world. Approaches in different countries, even within the European Union, vary- from liberal and mostly permissive, like in Poland, to strict and rigorous, or even prohibitive, as shows the example of Airbnb in Paris or Barcelona, where the municipal authorities have come up with time limitations or even bans. Although the changes, like those introduced in Sweden or Seoul, are a step in the right direction, it seems that the best solution so far would be slow evolution through soft law, instead of ground-breaking revolution. In order to achieve this goal, European Union shall take steps necessary to harmonise EU Member States’ laws, starting with legal acts such as agendas, guides and white papers. One should however bear in mind, that sharing economy owes its’ success and extraordinarily rapid development to the fact, that it arose in liberal habitat, having almost no legal boundaries. For appropriate legal regulation, that would balance matters of minimal protection of market and individuals, be adaptive and friendly for development, Member States shall play a ‘night watchman’ role, rather than be overprotective.
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