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EU Vote on the Consumer Rights Directive Threatens Consumer Protection in the Digital Market

Brussels, 2nd February 2011 –

Late yesterday,  the Internal Market (IMCO) Committee of the European Parliament voted to extend the consumer protection rules applicable to the sale of tangible goods to ‘intangible goods,’ such as digital services including software and other online services.
“The Business Software Alliance supports genuine and harmonised protection for European consumers, and measures that will enhance consumers’ confidence in the Digital Single Market. Yesterday’s vote on the Consumer Rights Directive, however, sets back consumer protection and puts unnecessary strains on technology providers,” commented Francisco Mingorance, Senior Director of Government Relations, EMEA at BSA. 

If the Directive is extended to intangible goods such as computer software and related online services, such services will be subject to the rules applicable to physical goods such as toasters and washing machines. This could limit the protections consumers enjoy on software and online services.  For example, the guarantee of the software producer could arguably end on the day of the download despite the fact that it requires regular updates.

Professor Dr. Martin Schmidt-Kessel, an expert from the University of Bayreuth in Germany, hired by the IMCO Committee, recently presented a study in the Parliament which found that the straight-forward extension of the Consumer Rights Directive to digital 'intangible goods' could have negative consequences for consumers, industry and jobs. 

“BSA urges the Members of the European Parliament to reconsider this position ahead of the vote in the Plenary session in March. The Commission has undertaken a series of studies on this topic, which will help point the way towards sound policies which lead to real advancements for consumers’ protection in the digital single market,” said Mingorance.

About BSA

The Business Software Alliance ( is the world’s foremost advocate for the software industry, working in 80 countries to expand software markets and create conditions for innovation and growth. Governments and industry partners look to BSA for thoughtful approaches to key policy and legal issues, recognizing that software plays a critical role in driving economic and social progress in all nations. BSA’s member companies invest billions of dollars a year in local economies, good jobs, and next-generation solutions that will help people around the world be more productive, connected, and secure. BSA members include Adobe, Acronis, Altium, Apple, Asseco Poland S.A., Autodesk, AVEVA, AVG, Bentley Systems, CA Technologies, Cadence, CNC/Mastercam, Corel, Dassault Systèmes SolidWorks Corporation, DBA Lab S.p.A., Dell, Intel, Intuit, Kaspersky Lab, McAfee, Microsoft, Minitab, NedGraphics, PTC, Progress Software, Quark, Quest, Rosetta Stone, SAP, Siemens, Sybase, Symantec, Tekla, and The MathWorks.

Media Contact

Lisa Randles
Communications Director, EMEA
Business Software Alliance
T. +44 (0)20 7340 6080
F. +44 (0)20 7340 6090

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About BSA

BSA | The Software Alliance ( 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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