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EU: Product liability to be extended to software

The EU law on product liability is now 40 years old. The EU Commission now wants to modernize it and list software as a separate product. Although this pleases consumer protectionists, the first draft does not go far enough.

Product liability: extension to software within the EU

In the event of damage caused by faulty hardware, product liability applies. But what about software? A prominent current example is carmaker Tesla, which has just been sentenced because of misleading advertising to replace its on-board computer in the USA.

The EU Commission now wants to modernize the relevant product liability law, which is already 40 years old in its current form, in this regard and launch a new EU law. The proposal has been on the table since September and has been well received by consumer advocates. However, the current version does not go far enough.

The head of the federal association, Ramona Pop, reveals to the Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that consumers would hardly have a chance to prove defects of products and corresponding causalities at all. Especially devices that can be digitally networked are a “black box” for many, Pop said. Accordingly, the burden of proof must therefore be fundamentally reversed.

In the case of intended use, the burden of proof must lie with the manufacturers. After all, they know their products better and can prove that there is no fault in the event of damage, explains the association.

Liability for software

Furthermore, consumer advocates demand that operators of online marketplaces be liable for defective items if the product owners are not tangible. Although the association welcomes this and also the fact that consumers can assert claims not only when a resulting damage reaches a threshold of 500 euros, but already from the first euro, the proposal does not yet go far enough.

Another positive aspect is that software will henceforth be listed as a separate product in the clarification and will thus also be subject to product liability law. It does not matter whether the corresponding software solution would be stand-alone or integrated, which is welcomed by the Federal Association.

The revised proposals in product liability law (viewable here) also target products powered by artificial intelligence (AI). Drones, robots and even smart-home solutions also play a more important role in it.

However, before the proposal is adopted, it still needs to be approved by the European Parliament and EU member states.

Simon Lüthje

I am co-founder of this blog and am very interested in everything that has to do with technology, but I also like to play games. I was born in Hamburg, but now I live in Bad Segeberg.

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The EU law on product liability is now 40 years old. The EU Commission now wants to modernize it and list software as a separate product. Although this pleases consumer protectionists, the first draft does not go far enough. Product liability: extension to software within the EU In the event of damage caused by faulty … (Weiterlesen...)

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