VLT Legal explains changes to consumer regulations

Consumer regulations have changed, with the alterations coming into force this month. How will it affect the music industry? Corporate member VLT Legal explains:

New consumer regulations came into force this month, which update existing distance selling regulations, while also making important changes to the commercial supply to consumers via the internet of digital content such as downloads and streams of audiovisual content, digital music, software, apps, games and ebooks.

The most significant change brought about by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 is that the supply of digital content by download will no longer be treated as a "service" but as a separate type of supply, complete with its own specific requirements.

Brief overview of the principal requirements:

Cancellation Rights

The statutory cancellation period, currently 7 working days, is increased to 14 calendar days. However, the regulations say that providers are not allowed to supply consumers with the digital content they have purchased before the 14 day cancellation period has expired, unless they have the consumer's express consent and waiver of their right to cancel. As most consumers will wish to receive their digital content immediately upon purchase, providers must therefore be careful to comply with the process that allows consumers to waive the cancellation right, and a model cancellation form must be made available to consumers for this purpose.

Required Information

Required Information (24 items in total) must be supplied to the consumer pre-contract in a "clear and comprehensible manner, appropriate to the means of distance communication used", amongst which are:

  • Information regarding the functionality of the digital content and any Digital Rights Management protection measures attached to it;
  • Information regarding relevant compatibility of the digital content with hardware or software;
  • Information about cancellation rights and a model cancellation form.

Failure to provide all of the Required Information will give rise to the consumer's right to refuse to pay and/or an extended right of cancellation to 12 months.

VLT LEGAL can assist with all aspects of copyright, digital rights and music contracts, as well as a range of other areas of business-related intellectual property law, such as software licensing, data protection compliance and social media policies, trade mark registration and confidentiality agreements.

If you are a musician or have a music business that would benefit from her services, Victoria would love to hear from you: her charges are based on fixed fees or retainers.

Please visit www.vltegal.co.uk or contact her on [email protected] or 07887 810020 for a free consultation.

ISM members are also able to access legal advice in relation to copyright and intellectual property issues via the ISM’s in-house legal team: www.ism.org/advice