The European Commission has released two new proposals to simplify and promote access to digital content and online sales across the EU.
The proposals are intended to put a stop to legal fragmentation in the area of consumer contract law, which results in high costs for businesses – and improve consumer trust when buying online from another country.
Věra Jourová, commissioner for justice, consumers and gender equality said, "The internet has lifted technological barriers to a digital single market. With the digital contracts proposals, we want to lift legal barriers. Harmonising contractual rights throughout the EU will facilitate the supply of both digital content and goods across Europe. Consumers will benefit from simple and modernised rules; businesses from more legal certainty, cheaper and easier ways to expand their activities. This in turn will bring more choice at competitive prices to consumers."
The commission’s proposals are intended to offer a higher level of consumer protection, with a wider choice of products at more competitive prices. This would be achieved by reversing the burden of proof, and creating clear and specific rights with regards to digital content purchases.
However, the application development alliance believe such regulations would cause serious problems for application developers.
Catriona Meehan, application developers alliance EU policy director, said, “The European Commission’s proposal on contract rules for digital content, while an important part of achieving the laudable goal of the digital single market strategy, raises serious concerns for Europe’s application developers."
She added, “If carried out, the proposed changes to contract rules for digital content will create huge legal liabilities for developers, stifling innovation and potentially damaging Europe’s app economy because developers will not be willing to take on such liabilities.”