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The New Consumer Rights Bill – The Future for Digital Content

By Patrick Mitchell and Dylan Kennett

Earlier this week, the Queen delivered her annual speech at the State opening of Parliament.  Amongst the matters covered, were plans to draft the long awaited Consumer Rights Bill (the ‘Bill’) – in response to calls for simplified consumer protection laws.  Currently, there are eight pieces of related legislation which the Government hopes to consolidate in the proposed Bill.  The Department for Business, Innovation and Skills estimates the changes could save in the region of £4 billion over 10 years.  The overall aim of the Bill is to ensure that consumers are granted clear rights and the UK has forward-thinking legislation which keeps pace with technological advances. The Government believes that the measures will help stimulate growth and innovation by encouraging consumers to feel confident about asserting their rights when buying from businesses of any size. 


One particular area of interest will be the Bill’s approach to digital content – it will aim to cover downloads, such as apps, film and music, establishing a clear digital regime with specific rights and remedies.  Let’s wait and see exactly how it approaches refunds for faulty digital products, glitches and the freezing of apps or film streams which are unwatchable.  Further, it will be of interest to see how the Government classifies digital content; as goods or services, or neither one, creating a unique product category.  We’ll keep you informed on the Bill’s progress through Parliament.


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