What Rules Should Apply to Smart Consumer Goods? Goods with Embedded Digital Content in the Borderland Between the Digital Content Directive and “Normal” Contract Law
The European Commission’s approach in the “Proposal of Digital Content Directive” to regulate digital content contracts based on the object, rather than the type of contract, has led to a situation where a component of a product (the embedded digital content) can end up being subject to a contractual regime different from that applicable to the rest of the “smart” product. Different solutions have been proposed to solve this situation: firstly, one could apply goods rules to the whole product, including embedded digital content; alternatively, one could use split rules and subject the hardware of the product to goods rules and embedded digital content to digital content rules. One could even imagine subjecting the whole good to the digital content rules – an approach that would mean a major shift for the existing sales and leasing law. The article discusses the legal consequences of these different options, describes their advantages and disadvantages, and concludes that while there is no ideal solution to be found, the split-approach would be preferable.
Digital Content Directive
Smart consumer goods
goods with embedded digital content