EC proposes new rules for digital content and online sales

In an effort to make digital contract rules simpler, the European Comission (EC) has proposed making online services such as Netflix and Sky Go portable across the European Union.

Updating copyright laws to meet modern standards and demand is one of the key points of the proposal. This will make it easier for consumers to buy and use content legally as opposed to pirating it.

The rules being proposed by the EC would allow consumers to be able to enjoy their legally bought content anywhere in Europe. Regional restrictions would no longer exist from country to country and it would be less of a hassle for consumers to enjoy their films, books, TV series and other digital media without the current hurdles imposed on consumers.

These proposals fall under the EU's digital single market strategy which also aims to promote e-commerce among consumers and businesses. Better protection will be put in place to help keep consumers safe while shopping online and it will also encourage businesses to expand their online sales.

The amount of online business occurring between consumers and retailers across the EU is quite low. Only 15 per cent of consumers have made an online purchase from another country in the EU and only 12 per cent of retailers sell their goods online to consumers in other EU countries. The goal of the EC is to remove the obstacles standing in the way of cross border e-commerce.

Currently legal fragmentation in the area of consumer law makes it much more expensive for businesses to operate across borders in the EU. There is also a very low level of consumer trust when buying from other EU countries. The EC's proposals will give consumers more rights when shopping online and enjoying digital content which will in turn allow them to fully benefit from the wealth of diverse products and services that exist in the countries that make up the EU.

Both consumers and business look to gain from the EC's proposals. This move will likely bring the costs of operating in EU markets down and businesses will no longer have to waste time and energy adapting to contract laws on a country by country basis.

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