ORIGINAL PAPER

Journal of Consumer Policy

, Volume 36, Issue 1, pp 37-57

First online:

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Digital Content Contracts for Consumers

  • N. HelbergerAffiliated withInstitute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam Email author 
  • , M. B. M LoosAffiliated withCentre for the Study of European Contract Law (CSECL), University of Amsterdam
  • , Lucie GuibaultAffiliated withInstitute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam
  • , Chantal MakAffiliated withCentre for the Study of European Contract Law (CSECL), University of Amsterdam
  • , Lodewijk PessersAffiliated withInstitute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam

Abstract

The application of consumer law to digital content contracts encounters a number of obstacles. Some of these are rather typical for digital content markets, e.g., the legal consequences of the classification of digital content as “goods” or “services” and, more importantly, the absence of general benchmarks to evaluate the conformity of digital content. Other problems, such as the limited usefulness of consumer information and the position of underage consumers, are not as such reserved to digital consumers, but they are amplified in the digital content markets. Moreover, particular attention is paid to the complex relationship between copyright law and consumer law. This paper explores the extent to which consumer (contract) law is fit to address the problems faced by digital consumers wishing to enjoy the benefits of digital content and examines whether the on-going initiatives at national and European level are likely to provide relief. Finally, recommendations for improvement are put forward in cases where the analysis shows that the problems identified are not or are insufficiently solved by these initiatives.

Keywords

Digital content Consumer law General contract law Copyright law Telecommunications law