Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Digital Content, Copyright, Consumer Protection, Interoperability, Private Copying, Geo-Blocking


Copyright law is not primarily directed at consumers. Their interests are therefore only marginally accounted for, as the copyright rules exempt specific uses of works from the right holder’s control. This chapter examines the impact of digital technology on the position of consumers of licensed copyrighted content. While ownership of the physical embodiment of a work does not entail the ownership of the rights in the work, how does copyright law deal with ‘disembodied’ works? Whereas digital content is now commonly distributed on the basis of individual licensing schemes, what does it mean for consumers? Do they have a claim under consumer protection law against copyright owners for the impossibility to make a copy for private purposes, the lack of interoperability between devices, and the geo-blocking of their account?


Also available as Institute for Information Law Research Paper No. 2016-01 and Amsterdam Law School Research Paper No. 2016-01.