24 May 2016

Joint Industry Declaration on the Digital Content Directive

Joint Industry Declaration on the Digital Content Directive

Our organisations, representing the full array of creators, developers, and distributors of digital content, write to express our substantial reservations with the Commission’s latest proposal for a Directive on the contracts for the supply of Digital Content (DCD). We fully support the objective of DCD to boost e-commerce by providing clarity to consumers and legal certainty to businesses, but having analysed the proposed text, we have identified several elements that we worry would significantly undermine the objectives.

Consumers could face contradicting rules reducing certainty and choice

We are concerned that the proposed DCD would overlap with the existing consumer acquis i.e the Consumer Rights Directive, the Consumer Sales Directive, the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, and the Unfair Terms Directive, which are all under review as part of the so-called REFIT exercise. It is not clear what the DCD would add to this framework and whether it would, as the Commission asserts, provide for regulatory clarity. The review of existing legislation and the creation of new consumer law needs to be properly assessed in light of the Better Regulation Agenda. We urge policymakers to wait until the REFIT exercise is completed to ensure that the intended scope and definitions within the DCD do not end up creating greater uncertainty for both businesses and consumers.

The DCD also includes provisions which duplicate and contradict other EU laws, for example on the return of data upon termination of the contract, which appears to duplicate the data portability provisions of the recently-adopted, and not yet fully implemented, General Data Protection Regulation. As well, the DCD extends the provision of data portability beyond personal data currently within the General Data Protection Regulation to include “any other data”, which is currently not defined at all.

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