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Institutional and Legal Affairs, PUBLICATIONS

Contracts for the supply of digital content and personal data protection

Written by Rafał Mańko and Shara Monteleone,

Digitaler Fingerabdruck

© psdesign1 / Fotolia

The proposed directive on the supply of digital content is intended to regulate the main contractual rights and duties of parties to contracts for the supply of digital content and services, and create a harmonised legal framework for digital content to benefit both consumers and businesses. It covers not only contracts where digital content or services are provided in exchange for money, but also those where the consumer provides personal or other data in lieu of money to gain access to digital content or services.

The interplay between this proposed private law instrument and the existing public law rules on data protection (notably the recently adopted General Data Protection Regulation) have been the subject of some debate. The European Data Protection Supervisor’s recent opinion was critical of the proposal, arguing that, in the EU, personal data ‘cannot be conceived as a mere economic asset’ and cannot therefore be treated as the consumer’s contractual counter-performance in lieu of money.

The draft report prepared by the co-rapporteurs in Parliament includes those contracts in which consumers do not pay a price (but potentially provide data) within the scope of the proposal. It eliminates however the notion of personal data as a form of contractual ‘counter-performance’. The co-legislators are now facing the challenging task of reconciling the fundamental rights approach with the requirements of economic reality, including the need to grant legal protection to consumers who provide their data in order to access digital content or services.


Read this briefing on ‘Contracts for the supply of digital content and personal data protection‘ in PDF.

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The content of all documents (and articles) contained in this blog is the sole responsibility of the author and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily represent the official position of the European Parliament. It is addressed to the Members and staff of the EP for their parliamentary work. Reproduction and translation for non-commercial purposes are authorised, provided the source is acknowledged and the European Parliament is given prior notice and sent a copy. Copyright © European Union, 2014. All rights reserved

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