What Place for Consumer Protection in the Single Market for Digital Content? Reflections on the European Commission's Optional Regulation Policy
European Journal of Consumer Law, 2014/2, p. 333-361
22 Pages Posted: 23 Oct 2017
Date Written: October 1, 2014
EU ‘digital’ policies require the integration of consumers’ interest in order to stimulate the establishment and functioning of the Single Market. Several areas of EU law lack an holistic approach when referring to consumer protection in the digital environment; as illustrated by the discrimination between copyright protected content supplied on-line (e.g. via downloading or streaming) and off-line in tangible media. The purpose of this paper is to examine both how the current legal framework addresses this differentiated market and future regulatory perspectives: Firstly, we will transversely assess EU consumer law and copyright rules, which are two areas of the acquis communautaire that converge when defining the legal regime applicable to B2C contracts for the supply of digital content. Secondly, we will critically examine how the European Commission has dealt with this problem within the Common European Sales Law proposal, which explicitly includes in its material scope contracts for the supply of digital content. Finally, after identifying any gaps in the current legislation and considering the appropriateness of the Common European Sales Law to address consumer rights in digital content contracts in an optional contract law regime, we will conclude with an examination of what the perspectives for a future ‘Common European Digital Services Law’ are.
Keywords: Digital Content, Copyright, Consumer Rights Directive, European Contract law, Cloud-Computing
JEL Classification: K00, K12, K39
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