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The e-commerce directive and ecommerce laws


Lawdit Solicitors - Expert Author

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15 January 2012

The ecommerce directive. Its articles. Not the Wild West.

The Internet is not the Wild West contrary to what many people think. It is in fact heavily regulated. This is due in the main because the existing laws relating to say for example the sale of goods will apply to sales over the internet as well as the possibility of two countries laws being applicable to a particular contract.

Legislators were concerned. As a consequence a significant amount of legislation was introduced on a pan European basis which sought to provide a framework and safety net for ecommerce.

The E-Commerce Directive

The granddaddy of this new frontier is the Council Directive (EC) 2000/31 ('the E-Commerce Directive') which aimed to ensure that both B2B and B2C that provide and receive goods or services for payment and at a distance would have to adhere to the Ecommerce Directive.

The most important articles are as follows:-

Article 3- Where the business is placed-Establishment.

An establishment is one where the establishment is pursues its economic activity, irrespective of the location of the server, website or mailbox.

Article 5- What a website needs to provide- Information.

All businesses that provide Internet services must provide in their terms detailed information about the business including their name, geographic address, contact details and any trade registration or business authorisation information.

Articles 9-11-How to form a contract.

Putting it simply these articles ensure that contracts can be concluded electronically and insists that member states remove all restrictions on contracts being formed online.

Articles 12-14 - Who shall be liable?

May website operators simply provide content or act as conduits or intermediaries for service providers. As there is no immediate requirement for a service provider to monitor the contents of website they shall not be liable. However, this does not let the third party off the hook. If once the service provider is informed of the harmful or libellous material then it must act.

The E-Commerce Directive was implemented in the United Kingdom by the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002.

Michael Coyle is a Solicitor Advocate and can be contacted at Lawdit Solicitors is a commercial law firm based in Southampton.

About the Author

Lawdit Solicitors offer services and advice for litigation, commercial contracts, Intellectual Property and IT legal agreements. We are experts in commercial law with a heavy emphasis on Intellectual Property, Internet and e-commerce law. Lawdit is a member of the International Trademark Association, the Solicitors' Association of Higher Court Advocates and we are the appointed Solicitors to the largest webdesign association in the world, the United Kingdom Website Designers Association.

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Article Published/Sorted/Amended on Scopulus 2012-02-09 12:53:19 in Legal Articles

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