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Contracts for the supply of digital content and personal data protection

Written by Rafał Mańko and Shara Monteleone,

© 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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