Developers Alliance expresses several concerns related to the revision of the Product Liability Directive (PLD). The EU proposal extends the strict liability for defective products and the conditions for compensation claims in regard to software, disregarding its specific characteristics in contrast to physical products.
We are calling on the EU co-legislators to:
● Reject a generalized inclusion of standalone software in the definition of ‘product’. Ensure legal clarity regarding the notions of standalone software, software as a component of a product, software as a service, and digital services.
● Exclude immaterial harms, such as psychological harms and loss of data, from the definition of damage, to avoid legal uncertainty.
● Clarify the disclosure obligations and the burden of proof, in order to protect software developers from excessive litigation.
Imposing a strict liability regime on software in a generalized way will have a significant impact on software development and availability in the EU. Developers with limited resources (e.g. startups) will be particularly discouraged by increased legal risks and costs associated with litigation and indemnity to platforms, device manufacturers and distributors.