Advanced

Digitala produkters rättsliga ställning

Hoang, Viet LU (2012) JURM02 20121
Department of Law
Abstract (Swedish)
Arbetet behandlar digitala produkters rättsliga ställning; närmare bestämt huruvida dessa produkter ska klassificeras som tillhandahållande av tjänster, eller som köp av varor. Med begreppet digitala produkter ska förstås datorprogram, musikfiler, videofilmer, bildfiler, e-böcker, applikationer, datorspel, mm. Fokus kommer att ligga på konsumenternas rättsställning vid förvärv av de digitala produkter som levereras elektroniskt, dvs. utan att vara manifesterade i ett fysiskt medium.

Arbetet har fått denna inriktning med anledning av att konsumentskyddsregelverken och dess gamla terminologi stämmer dåligt överrens med dessa nya produkter: konsumentköplagen erfordrar att varan ska utgöra en lös sak. Motsvarande bestämmelse finns i... (More)
Arbetet behandlar digitala produkters rättsliga ställning; närmare bestämt huruvida dessa produkter ska klassificeras som tillhandahållande av tjänster, eller som köp av varor. Med begreppet digitala produkter ska förstås datorprogram, musikfiler, videofilmer, bildfiler, e-böcker, applikationer, datorspel, mm. Fokus kommer att ligga på konsumenternas rättsställning vid förvärv av de digitala produkter som levereras elektroniskt, dvs. utan att vara manifesterade i ett fysiskt medium.

Arbetet har fått denna inriktning med anledning av att konsumentskyddsregelverken och dess gamla terminologi stämmer dåligt överrens med dessa nya produkter: konsumentköplagen erfordrar att varan ska utgöra en lös sak. Motsvarande bestämmelse finns i konsumenttjänstlagen som erfordrar antingen arbete på, eller förvaring av lösa saker. Lösa saker är enligt förarbetena rörliga, fysiska föremål och därmed kan digitala produkter inte anses utgöra lösa saker.

Som ett resultat av denna diskrepans hamnar avtal om förvärv av digitala produkter utanför konsumentskyddsreglernas direkta tillämpningsområde. Arbetet belyser denna problematik ur ett samnordiskt perspektiv men berör även gemenskapsrättens olika rättsakter med anledning av att en lagstiftning på EU-nivå är bindande för medlemsstaterna. I arbetet görs en omfattande komparativ analys av doktrin samt statliga utredningar i syfte att redogöra för det rådande rättläget kring förvärven av de digitala produkterna.

Slutsatsen blev att rättsläget alltjämt är oklart eftersom frågan varken har prövats i någon nordisk överrätt eller reglerats i någon lagstiftning. EU röstade 2011 igenom ett nytt direktiv om konsumenträttigheter som ska träda i kraft den 13 december 2013. I direktivet fastslås det att digitala produkter varken ska klassificeras som varor eller tjänster, utan som något helt tredje, än så länge odefinierat. Eftersom arbetet inte berör digitala produkter ur ett licensperspektiv (vilket då troligen utgör ”något helt tredje”) har inga slutsatser kunnat dras kring de svenska reglernas konformitet med gemenskapsrätten på just den specifika punkten.

Dock har arbetet besvarat frågan huruvida ett avtal om en elektronisk överföring av en digital produkt ska anses utgöra ett köp av en vara eller ett tillhandahållande av en tjänst med följande svar; Det beror på.

Arbetet kom fram till det finns ett behov av ny, modern inhemsk lagstiftning som är anpassad till den nya, digitaliserade värld som konsumenterna lever och handlar i. Det föreslås även att om digitala produkter ska arbetas in i en ny konsumentlagstiftning, att lagstiftaren skiljer på de digitala produkterna genom att beteckna dem antingen som digitala varor, eller digitala tjänster. Denna klassificering har nämligen betydelse vid bl.a. ångerrätt och hävning.
För att kunna fastställa huruvida en digital produkt ska anses utgöra ett köp av en digital vara eller som ett tillhandahållande av en digital tjänst föreslås det att bedömningen bör grundas på en del olika faktorer; däribland:
• Huruvida den digitala produkten utgörs av ett tydligt präglat arbete (av digital natur). Som exempel kan nämnas underhåll av mjukvara samt reparation och installation av mjukvara genom fjärrstyrning.
• Huruvida köparen erlägger en engångssumma för produkten eller om ytterligare betalning förutsätts för användandet av produkten.
• Huruvida köparen, efter hämtning av den digitala produkten, kan fullt ut nyttja produkten på egen hand eller om denne är beroende av att säljaren därefter utför ett arbete eller en tjänst av något slag för att köparen ska kunna nyttja produkten ändamålsenligt.
• Att viss ledning kan hämtas från huruvida den digitala produkten på ett rimligt och lämpligt sett kan återställas vid en eventuell hävning. (Less)
Abstract
This essay discusses digital content and their judicial status; especially the
issue concerning the classification of digital content as either sales contracts or service contracts. The term digital content is to be understood as computer programs, applications, games, music, videos or texts. This essay will mainly focus on consumers and their rights when purchasing digital content which are not supplied on a tangible medium.

The essay focuses on consumer protection due to the fact that the old terminology used in domestic consumer protection laws is not compatible with these new “products”. According to the Consumer Sales Act, the goods must be tangible in order to fall within the scope of the act. Corresponding regulations can be... (More)
This essay discusses digital content and their judicial status; especially the
issue concerning the classification of digital content as either sales contracts or service contracts. The term digital content is to be understood as computer programs, applications, games, music, videos or texts. This essay will mainly focus on consumers and their rights when purchasing digital content which are not supplied on a tangible medium.

The essay focuses on consumer protection due to the fact that the old terminology used in domestic consumer protection laws is not compatible with these new “products”. According to the Consumer Sales Act, the goods must be tangible in order to fall within the scope of the act. Corresponding regulations can be found in the Consumer Services Act which states that its provisions are applicable to services performed on tangible goods.

Due to this discrepancy, a consumer protection lacuna has arisen; the available consumer protection laws are inapplicable on contracts for supply of digital content. The essay disserts this issue from the perspective of the Nordic countries as well as from the perspective of the European Union considering that legislation issued on EU-level is binding for its member states. The essay extensively analyses doctrine in a comparative manner as well as governmental commissions for the purpose of elucidating the judicial status of digital content.

The conclusion is that the legal status of digital content is still uncertain due to the lack of praxis and applicable regulations. The European Union adopted in 2011 a new directive on consumer rights, which are entering into force December 13th, 2013. The directive establishes that digital content should neither be classified as goods, or services, but rather as something else. Since this essay does not address the issue concerning contracts for supply of digital content as license-agreements (which probably constitute “something else”), no conclusions have been reached concerning the national regulations’ conformity with the legislation of the European Union, in this specific matter.

The essay answers however, – for the essay relevant question – whether a contract for the supply of digital content should be classified as sales contracts, or service contracts with the following statement: It depends.

The essay concludes that there is a need for new, modern legislation, which is suitable for the new, digitalized world consumers both live and shop in. The essay suggests that if the contracts for supply of digital content should fall within the scope of the new legislation, the legislator should distinguish between digital content as goods and digital content as services. The terminology which is suggested is digital goods and digital services, as this distinction is relevant for the assessment on the right of withdrawal and on the right to void contracts.

In order to determine whether a contract for supply of digital content should be classified as either sales contract or service contract, it is suggested that this assessment should be based on several factors, for example:

• Whether the performance of the contractual obligation contains a clear and distinctive element of work (of digital nature). For example: maintenance of software and reparation and installation of software through remote control.
• Whether the buyer only pays once for unlimited usage of the digital content hereinafter, or if the buyer needs to pay continuously in order for the digital content to function effectively.
• Whether the buyer, after delivery of the digital content, can independently (without involvement from the seller) use the digital content, or if they are reliant on the seller to maintain or provide additional services for the full and independent usage of the digital content.
• Some guidance can be sought in whether a contract for the supply of digital content in an appropriate manner can be subject for restoration in case of voidance. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Hoang, Viet LU
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Digital content and their judicial status
course
JURM02 20121
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
Civilrätt, förmögenhetsrätt, avtalsrätt, konsumenträtt, immaterialrätt, IT-rätt
language
Swedish
id
2968418
date added to LUP
2012-11-01 09:38:38
date last changed
2012-11-01 09:38:38
@misc{2968418,
  abstract     = {This essay discusses digital content and their judicial status; especially the
issue concerning the classification of digital content as either sales contracts or service contracts. The term digital content is to be understood as computer programs, applications, games, music, videos or texts. This essay will mainly focus on consumers and their rights when purchasing digital content which are not supplied on a tangible medium.

The essay focuses on consumer protection due to the fact that the old terminology used in domestic consumer protection laws is not compatible with these new “products”. According to the Consumer Sales Act, the goods must be tangible in order to fall within the scope of the act. Corresponding regulations can be found in the Consumer Services Act which states that its provisions are applicable to services performed on tangible goods. 

Due to this discrepancy, a consumer protection lacuna has arisen; the available consumer protection laws are inapplicable on contracts for supply of digital content. The essay disserts this issue from the perspective of the Nordic countries as well as from the perspective of the European Union considering that legislation issued on EU-level is binding for its member states. The essay extensively analyses doctrine in a comparative manner as well as governmental commissions for the purpose of elucidating the judicial status of digital content.

The conclusion is that the legal status of digital content is still uncertain due to the lack of praxis and applicable regulations. The European Union adopted in 2011 a new directive on consumer rights, which are entering into force December 13th, 2013. The directive establishes that digital content should neither be classified as goods, or services, but rather as something else. Since this essay does not address the issue concerning contracts for supply of digital content as license-agreements (which probably constitute “something else”), no conclusions have been reached concerning the national regulations’ conformity with the legislation of the European Union, in this specific matter.

The essay answers however, – for the essay relevant question – whether a contract for the supply of digital content should be classified as sales contracts, or service contracts with the following statement: It depends.

The essay concludes that there is a need for new, modern legislation, which is suitable for the new, digitalized world consumers both live and shop in. The essay suggests that if the contracts for supply of digital content should fall within the scope of the new legislation, the legislator should distinguish between digital content as goods and digital content as services. The terminology which is suggested is digital goods and digital services, as this distinction is relevant for the assessment on the right of withdrawal and on the right to void contracts.

In order to determine whether a contract for supply of digital content should be classified as either sales contract or service contract, it is suggested that this assessment should be based on several factors, for example:

•	Whether the performance of the contractual obligation contains a clear and distinctive element of work (of digital nature). For example: maintenance of software and reparation and installation of software through remote control. 
•	Whether the buyer only pays once for unlimited usage of the digital content hereinafter, or if the buyer needs to pay continuously in order for the digital content to function effectively. 
•	Whether the buyer, after delivery of the digital content, can independently (without involvement from the seller) use the digital content, or if they are reliant on the seller to maintain or provide additional services for the full and independent usage of the digital content.
•	Some guidance can be sought in whether a contract for the supply of digital content in an appropriate manner can be subject for restoration in case of voidance.},
  author       = {Hoang, Viet},
  keyword      = {Civilrätt,förmögenhetsrätt,avtalsrätt,konsumenträtt,immaterialrätt,IT-rätt},
  language     = {swe},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Digitala produkters rättsliga ställning},
  year         = {2012},
}