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New study on contracts for the digital economy

The European Commission has been overseeing several ongoing or recently completed thematic studies focusing on digital technologies (AI and smart legal contracts) and data-driven business models. The aim of these studies is to provide an initial assessment of potential problems related to these specific emerging digital technologies and business models.

The objectives of the study at hand focus on providing a horizontal market overview of the novel forms of contracting and new data-driven business models made possible by emerging technologies. It will also demonstrate the economic relevance of the use of such technologies and business models for a successful transition to a digital economy. There is also an aspect related to whether potential problems identified result in concerns affecting the uptake and use of such technologies and data-driven business models.

In order to achieve these objectives, the first step involves carrying out a market analysis. The second step involves identifying and analysing problems relating to the uptake and use of innovative digital technologies and data-driven business models in private transactions. Spark will analyse the potential issues relating to legal uncertainty and fragmentation; costs as an entry barrier for uptake; limited control and human intervention in transactions; and difficulties and disadvantages of weaker parties in transactions. Once the problems are identified, the impacts of individual policy measures to tackle potential problems will be analysed, before a comparison of such measures in terms of their effectiveness, efficiency, coherence and proportionality is undertaken.

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