Product liability for software: finally no more bugged games?

Product liability for software: finally no more bugged games?

from Andrew Link
The EU Commission wants to amend product liability, which is around 40 years old, and the good news is that software will also be subject to liability rules in the future. In detail, however, things are still being shaken and stirred – for example with the liability limit and the burden of proof.

In Brussels, work is being carried out on amending product liability, which is essentially around 40 years old and partly antiquated. This is also exciting for gamers, because it has already been decided that software should be a product. And with that, similar rights and obligations should apply to program code as to physical goods. Liability of a developer for bugged games? Sounds too good to be true. As always, the devil is in the details.

The issue of liability for software was also addressed, but at the moment it looks like the user must incur damages of at least 500 euros before he can file a recourse. The Federation of German Consumer Organizations (VZBV) also criticizes this: “A modern product liability law must also reflect the risks of products in the digital age. So far, consumers can only assert their claims for defective products from a threshold value of 500 euros. The VZBV expressly welcomes that this limit does not apply and consumers can claim damages from the first euro.” The Commission seems ready to give in after a first draft was presented in September.

The burden of proof

Another problem remains the burden of proof: proving defects is becoming more and more complex and all too often suppliers squirm with the fact that the product was not used properly. This can sometimes be even more difficult with digital goods than it is already the case with physical goods. And when several products interact, the buck is often passed around. “With the draft, the Commission failed to present a fundamental reform of product liability law,” says Ramona Pop, board member of the VZBV. After all, the EU is ready to introduce product liability laws for software.

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Part of the amendment is also that online trade should be made more responsible. The VZBV demands that operators of online marketplaces must be liable for defective products if the product managers are not available. In addition, one still hopes for an insight into the burden of proof.