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Standardizing consumers' expectations in digital content

Natali Helberger (Institute for Information Law (IViR), University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands)


ISSN: 1463-6697

Article publication date: 27 September 2011




The purpose of this paper is to make suggestions of how to improve the legal standing of consumers of digital content products.


The analysis in this paper is based on desk research and comparative legal research, among others in the context of research performed in the context of a grant from the Netherlands Organization for Scientific Research (NWO) and, in parts, on a study performed for the European Commission by Loos et al.


This paper demonstrates that the legal and technical complexities of digital content products and the resulting lack of a clear notion of which product characteristics are still reasonable and normal can result in uncertainty for consumers and businesses, or even a lower level of protection for digital content consumers, as compared to consumers of more conventional products. In order to improve the protection of digital content consumers, defaults for the main functionalities and characteristics of digital content products may be needed. The article describes possible routes to create such defaults and concludes with suggestions for the way forward.


The article suggests a new approach to improving the legal standing of digital consumers, one that takes into account the situation of digital consumers as well as the need for flexibility and room for innovation for digital content businesses. It is based on extensive legal and comparative research into the present legal framework and develops a new approach of conceptualizing the legal obstacles that digital consumers can be confronted with.



Helberger, N. (2011), "Standardizing consumers' expectations in digital content", info, Vol. 13 No. 6, pp. 69-79.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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