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Digital Content Directive: Industry voices concerns over Commission’s proposal

Brussels, 24 May 2016 — Organisations, representing a vast array of creators, developers, and distributors of digital content are issuing a joint declaration to express their concerns about the European Commission’s recent proposal for a Directive on Contracts for the Supply of Digital Content (the so-called Digital Content Directive or DCD).

The signatories are fervent supporters of the Commission’s plans to create a Digital Single Market and therefore support the core objective of the draft Directive to boost e-commerce by increasing consumer trust and reducing legal uncertainty for companies.

However, the DCD risks creating regulatory inconsistency by touching upon areas that have already been regulated. More alarming though is the fact that some of the existing legislation is currently under review, making it unclear why the Commission would feel the need to create yet another set of rules at this particular point in time. Whatever the case may be, digital content-related industries are concerned by the Commission’s chosen course of action.

Aside from possible clashes with the existing body of law, the DCD in its current form also fails to distinguish between vastly different business models pertaining to the distribution and consumption of digital content. This one-size-fits-all approach is ill-suited and seems to be unnecessarily prescriptive, thus risking to inhibit innovation and the creation of new services.

The current draft would also significantly curtail contractual freedom, which could force providers to change their price modelling and business practices, at the overall expense of the consumer.

A final point of concern is the DCD’s approach to liability, which could end up shifting companies’ focus from innovating to “playing it safe”, resulting in less choice for consumers at higher prices.

Commenting on the draft, Thomas Boué, BSA Director General, Policy - EMEA said: “After analyzing the proposed text, we unfortunately found many worrying elements that could negatively impact the Directive’s stated objectives and, by extension, the Commission’s long-term goal of establishing a Digital Single Market”.

“We strongly urge EU co-legislators to take heed of our call for an improved draft on the basis of our considerations and we stand ready to engage with them to find a workable and effective solution” he concluded.

Signatories include: The American Chamber of Commerce to the European Union (AmCham EU), The Application Developers Alliance, BSA | The Software Alliance, DIGITALEUROPE, The European Digital and Media Association (EDiMA), Interactive Software Federation of Europe (ISFE).

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BSA | The Software Alliance (www.bsa.org) is the leading advocate for the global software industry before governments and in the international marketplace. Its members are among the world’s most innovative companies, creating software solutions that spark the economy and improve modern life. With headquarters in Washington, DC and operations in more than 60 countries, BSA pioneers compliance programs that promote legal software use and advocates for public policies that foster technology innovation and drive growth in the digital economy.
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