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16. A further argument raised against the multiple publication rule is that it has the effect of obliging electronic service providers to police or monitor the content of archives for defamatory material, and that this is impracticable and possibly in breach of the E-Commerce Directive [Directive 2000/31/EC, OJ L178 p 1, 17 July 2000] , Article 15(1) of which prevents Member States from imposing on “information society service providers” a general obligation to monitor content. It is difficult to see how the multiple publication rule could effectively impose monitoring obligations in breach of Article 15(1), in particular given the protection from liability available to intermediary service providers by virtue of Regulations 17 to 19 of the E- Commerce Regulations. In any event, it is questionable whether any significant risk of actions being brought in respect of archive material exists and thus whether any real practical difficulties would arise.

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