Document Type

Article

Publication Date

1-1-2012

Keywords

copyright law, consumers, European law, Information Society

Abstract

Purpose – This article seeks to deal with the fundamental conceptual differences between consumer law and copyright law that render the application of consumer law to copyright-law related conflicts difficult. Design/methodology/approach – Following a normative approach to copyright and consumer law based on an analysis of the relevant literature and case law, the article examines in which situations consumers encounter obstacles when trying to rely on consumer law to invoke ‘‘privileges’’ granted to them under copyright law, such as the private copying exception. Findings – Research shows that most difficulties lie in the fundamental conceptual differences between consumer law and copyright law regarding the objectives and beneficiaries of each regime, as well as diverging conceptions of ‘‘property’’, ‘‘user rights’’ and ‘‘internal market’’. Such discrepancies undeniably follow from the fact that each regime traditionally never had to deal with each other’s concerns: consumers never played a role in copyright law, whereas copyright protected works were not seen as consumer goods. Originality/value – By identifying the main conceptual differences between the two legal regimes, the article contributes in an inter-disciplinary manner to the discussion on the place of the digital consumer under European law.

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