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Economic and Social Policies, PUBLICATIONS

Contracts for supply of digital content to consumers [EU Legislation in Progress]

Written by Rafał Mańko (1st edition),

Electronic circuit on hand shaking on blue background

© anueing / Fotolia

On 9 December 2015, the Commission tabled a proposal for a directive on contracts for supply of digital content to consumers. The proposal would cover, with a single set of rules, contracts for the sale of digital content (e.g. when consumers buy music, films, e-books or applications), for rental of digital content (e.g. when consumers watch a movie online, but do not download a copy), as well as contracts for digital services, such as cloud computing and social media. The proposal envisages a maximum level of harmonisation, meaning that it will be prohibited for Member States to enact or retain more consumer-friendly rules within the directive’s scope.

Currently, only the UK has enacted rules designed specifically for contracts for supply of digital content. A similar legislative bill was recently discussed in Ireland. Other Member States, such as Germany and the Netherlands, have extended the scope of existing contract rules, especially on consumer sales, to include sale of digital content. Yet in other Member States, such as Poland, there are no explicit rules on supply of digital content, which leads to legal uncertainty and practical difficulties regarding the rights and remedies available to consumers in case of non-conformity.


Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content

Committee responsible:


Internal Market and Consumer Protection

Evelyne Gebhardt (S&D, Germany)

COM(2015)634 of 9.12.2015

procedure ref.: 2015/0287(COD)

Ordinary legislative procedure

Next steps expected: Discussions in committee

Stage: National Parliaments opinion



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