Consumer Law for the 21st Century

Seminar | March 16 | 3:10-5 p.m. | 107 South Hall

 Chris Jay Hoofnagle and Aniket Kesari

 Information, School of

Imagine a future where every purchase decision is complex as choosing a mobile phone. Will it have coverage at home and work? What will ongoing service cost? How long will the device last? Can I and may I switch providers? These are just some of the questions one must consider when a product is âtetheredâ â linked to the seller in an ongoing way. The Internet of Things, but more broadly, consumer products with embedded software, will be tethered, with many implications for the consumer-seller relationship. Tethered products blur the lines between goods and services by incorporating elements of physical goods, digital goods, and digital services.

The promise of new functionalities will bring consumers many benefits and consumers will want tethered products. Our project seeks to predict the pathologies that will arise from tethered products by culling examples from recent seller/consumer conflicts and by mapping out the microeconomic dynamics of tethered products. We then rethink consumer law approaches to maximize healthy competition in a tethered environment.