Bill Summaries: H494 (2021)

  • Summary date: Apr 5 2021 - View summary

    Adds new Article 9, Digital Interference Censorship Act, in GS Chapter 75. Makes this Article applicable to digital application distribution platforms with cumulative gross receipts from sales on the platform to state residents that exceed $10 million in either the current or previous calendar year and that use the platform: (1) to provide an application that was created by a person domiciled in this state to a user or (2) to provide an application to a resident of this state. Excludes a special-purpose digital application distribution platform. Defines a digital application distribution platform as a digital distribution platform for applications and services provided to a user on general-purpose hardware, including a mobile phone, smartphone, tablet, personal computer, or other similar Internet-enabled device. Specifies that the term includes a digital application platform provided or used only for a certain type of device, including a certain grade of computing device, a device made only by a particular manufacturer, or a device running a particular operating system.

    Prohibits a provider of a digital application distribution platform from: (1) requiring a developer to use the provider's in-application payment system as the exclusive means for accepting payment from a user, or to purchase a digital or physical product or service created, offered, or provided by the developer through a software application; (2) retaliating against a developer for choosing to use another digital transaction system or in-application payment system; or (3) refusing to allow a developer to provide the provider's application or digital product to or through the provider's platform or system or refuse to allow a user access to the developer's application or digital product through the provider's platform or system, on account of the developer's use of another payment system, the application's religious or political content, or the religious or political content of users of the developer's application. Makes violations of the Article a violation of GS 75-1.1 (making unlawful unfair methods of competition in or affecting commerce, and unfair or deceptive acts or practices in or affecting commerce).

    Allows a person or entity, if the Attorney General fails to prosecute a claim within 60 days, to bring an action in Superior Court to (1) enjoin further violations of this Article by the provider or (2) recover costs and other damages resulting from the provider's conduct. Allows awarding attorneys' fees to prevailing parties in specified instances. 

    Makes conforming changes to GS 114-2, concerning the Attorney General's duties.

    Effective October 1, 2021.