The plan­ned AI Lia­bi­li­ty Direc­ti­ve at a glance

Signi­fi­cant­ly hig­her requi­re­ments for resti­tu­ti­on and dama­ge com­pen­sa­ti­on claims than pre­vious­ly assumed

On 28 Sep­tem­ber, the Com­mis­si­on published its pro­po­sal for an AI Lia­bi­li­ty Direc­ti­ve. We pre­vious­ly repor­ted on a lea­k­ed ver­si­on. The wor­ding and con­tent of the ver­si­on now published dif­fers from the pre­vious ver­si­on in some rele­vant points. We the­r­e­fo­re pre­sent the main con­tents of the pro­po­sal here.

Scope of the AI Lia­bi­li­ty Directive

The AI Lia­bi­li­ty Direc­ti­ve appli­es only to non-contractual fault-based dama­ge com­pen­sa­ti­on claims. Any dama­ge com­pen­sa­ti­on claims resul­ting from the Pro­duct Lia­bi­li­ty Direc­ti­ve and the lia­bi­li­ty exemp­ti­ons and due dili­gence obli­ga­ti­ons from the Digi­tal Ser­vices Act (plan­ned EU regu­la­ti­on for a law on digi­tal ser­vices) are to remain unaf­fec­ted. The essen­ti­al defi­ni­ti­ons of terms from rela­ted legal acts of the Euro­pean Uni­on, in par­ti­cu­lar the AI Regu­la­ti­on, have been adopted.

Dis­clo­sure obli­ga­ti­ons of the ope­ra­tors and users of AI systems

In accordance with Artic­le 3 of the draft AI Lia­bi­li­ty Direc­ti­ve, a poten­ti­al clai­mant in the event of dama­ge should first request the dis­clo­sure of rele­vant evi­dence from the ope­ra­tor of the AI sys­tem or per­sons equi­va­lent to the ope­ra­tor. This requi­re­ment does not app­ly if the dama­ge com­pen­sa­ti­on cla­im is brought befo­re a court. In this case, just as when the ope­ra­tor refu­ses to dis­c­lo­se infor­ma­ti­on, the courts have the power to order dis­clo­sure. For this pur­po­se, howe­ver, the plain­ti­ff must pre­sent suf­fi­ci­ent facts and evi­dence to make the dama­ge com­pen­sa­ti­on cla­im plau­si­ble. The order also requi­res that the clai­mant has done ever­y­thing reasonable to obtain evi­dence from the respondent.

If the sur­ren­der is refu­sed, the court is to assu­me a breach of the duty on the part of the clai­mant to exer­cise due dili­gence and thus its pro­ba­ti­ve value for the dama­ge com­pen­sa­ti­on cla­im. This pre­sump­ti­on is rebuttable.

Rever­sal of bur­den of proof

Under the fol­lo­wing three con­di­ti­ons, a cau­sal link bet­ween the defen­dan­t’s fault and the AI sys­tem is to be (rebut­ta­b­ly) pre­su­med by the court accor­ding to Artic­le 4 of the draft:

  1. The court pre­su­mes (due to non-disclosure) or the plain­ti­ff pro­ves that the defen­dant brea­ched duties to exer­cise due dili­gence that were pre­cis­e­ly inten­ded to pre­vent the dama­ge that occurred.
  2. The­re is a reasonable pro­ba­bi­li­ty that the breach of the duties to exer­cise due dili­gence impac­ted the harmful effects of the AI system.
  3. The plain­ti­ff pro­ves that the harmful effects of the AI sys­tem cau­sed the harm.
    If the­se con­di­ti­ons are met, the defen­dant has the bur­den of pro­ving that the defen­dant is not respon­si­ble for the dama­ge. Howe­ver, the shift in the bur­den of pro­of will not app­ly if the defen­dant demons­tra­tes that the clai­mant has suf­fi­ci­ent evi­dence and exper­ti­se to pro­ve causation.

Sum­ma­ry

The num­e­rous chan­ges bet­ween the lea­k­ed ver­si­on of the AI Lia­bi­li­ty Direc­ti­ve and the draft now published demons­tra­te the high­ly dyna­mic situa­ti­on sur­roun­ding the legal regu­la­ti­on of AI. The offi­ci­al draft of the AI Lia­bi­li­ty Direc­ti­ve miti­ga­tes legal risks for com­pa­nies using AI appli­ca­ti­ons. In prin­ci­ple, howe­ver, risks such as a loss of intellec­tu­al pro­per­ty due to dis­clo­sure obli­ga­ti­ons or a need to fur­nish evi­dence as a result of a rever­sal of the bur­den of pro­of remain. It also can­not be ruled out that the draft will be tigh­ten­ed up again in dis­cus­sions with the EU Par­lia­ment and the Coun­cil of the Euro­pean Uni­on. Com­pa­nies that use AI or plan to do so in the future should the­r­e­fo­re moni­tor fur­ther deve­lo­p­ments clo­se­ly and take any mea­su­res neces­sa­ry to redu­ce lia­bi­li­ty at an ear­ly stage.

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