The EU Digital Content Directive sets out to facilitate the cross-border distribution of digital content and ensure a high level of consumer protection by harmonising certain aspects concerning contracts for the supply of digital content. The Directive acknowledges the variety of licensing agreements involved in the distribution of digital content, such as be- tween the holders of intellectual property rights, intermediaries and end-users. It is recognised that the consumer’s use of digital content could be restricted under end-user licensing agreements pursuant to intellectual property rights; at the same time, the Directive is without prejudice to other EU law, including copyright. Rather, under Art. 10, the consumer is entitled to remedies from the trader of digital content for lack of conformity where restrictions resulting from a violation of intellectual property rights prevent or limit the use of the content. As the traders of digital content frequently are not the owners of intellectual property rights but rely themselves on a licence, the question arises as to the potential implications of Art. 10 for digital content markets. This paper discusses two such potential implications. The first is whether the efforts to safeguard reasonable consumer expectations could be undermined by the Directive leaving the arrangements between traders and intellectual property right holders out of scope. The second is whether Art 10 could reinforce the network effects and dominant position of the established players on the market.
Oprysk, Liliia, Digital Consumer Contract Law without Prejudice to Copyright: EU Digital Content Directive, Reasonable Consumer Expectations and Competition (May 11, 2021). GRUR International, 2021.