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Digital Business Lawyer

Volume: 15 Issue: 12
(December 2013)


Brazil’s first bill to protect civil rights on the internet, known as ‘Marco Civil’ and introduced to Brazil’s Congress in 2011, has been delayed further, despite it being granted ‘constitutional urgency’ by Brazil’s President Dilma Rousseff - requiring the bill to be debated before other bills - following concerns about US spying on Brazilian citizens. As of 28 November, Brazil’s Congress was finalising the bill’s wording prior to voting, but key issues appear to be unresolved. / read more

Australia’s State and Territory Treasurers met with Federal Treasurer Joe Hockey on 27 November for the Standing Council on Federal Financial Relations to amongst other things consider lowering the GST threshold on imported goods bought online. / read more

The UK Court of Appeal confirmed on 21 November in SAS Institute Inc v. World Programming Ltd (WPL) that the way computer programs operate is not copyrightable, dismissing an appeal by SAS concerning the extent to which copyright protection can be granted to computer software. / read more


Estimates made by ABI Research predict that by 2020, some 30 billion individual devices will connect together in a realisation of the ‘internet of things’ (IoT). The potential benefits of device interconnectivity on such a massive scale exist at both a business and a consumer level, in fields as diverse as healthcare and household goods; a common example of the latter is the ‘connected house,’ in which the individual’s fridge, bathroom scales and even picture frames are controlled by smart intelligence which is constantly fed data about residents’ behaviour. / read more

The debate on how to reform and update Europe's data protection laws continues in Brussels and beyond. Much of the discussion has been about issues of 'state surveillance,' which - whilst important - has clouded the potential impact of the reforms upon the commercial use of data, including within the digital advertising sector. The proposals could be the most important policy achievement of the digital era to date. It's therefore important to give these issues the 'airing' they deserve, particularly as - as currently drafted - their impact on digital businesses, including advertising, could be negative and could also significantly alter consumers' digital experience. / read more

A three-judge panel of the federal appeals court for the District of Columbia Circuit (‘DC Circuit’) heard oral arguments on the Federal Communications Commission's (‘FCC’) ‘Open Internet’ rules in September. The court is expected to issue a ruling by the end of the year or in early 2014. Michelle W. Cohen of Ifrah Law PLLC, examines the background to the case and the arguments put forward. / read more

The European Commission set up an Expert Group in October, tasked with assisting the Commission in identifying ‘safe and fair contract terms and conditions for cloud computing services for consumers and small firms.’ Dr Sam De Silva, Partner at Penningtons Manches LLP and Member of the European Commission’s Expert Group on Cloud Computing, provides exclusive insight into the inner workings of the Expert Group and the topics for discussion that will culminate in recommendations put forward by the Expert Group in Spring 2014. / read more

Illinois' Supreme Court ruled in October that Illinois Public Act 96-1544, a 'click-through' nexus law requiring out-of-state internet retailers to collect sales tax if they commission to Illinois affiliates who link to the retailer's website, is unenforceable. Sylvia Dion, Founder and Managing Partner of PrietoDion Consulting Partners LLC, a specialist tax consulting firm, analyses the background to the ‘click-through’ nexus law and whether the US Supreme Court will issue its decision on whether to hear these cases. / read more

The UK Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) published new guidance in September to assist businesses who engage in direct marketing in complying with data protection laws. The guidance covers all forms of direct marketing that involve 'the communication (by whatever means) of any advertising or marketing material which is directed to particular individuals.' Jacqueline Clifton-Brown and Arthur Artinian of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP analyse the ICO’s guidance. / read more

On 17 September 2013 the European Parliament's Legal Affairs Committee voted in favour of the Common European Sales Law (‘CESL’) proposals. CESL, if introduced, would provide a uniform set of EU-wide rules for cross-border (but not domestic) sales of goods, applicable on a voluntary basis. The European Commission's (‘EC’) aim is to overcome trade barriers created by differences in national contract law and to boost business, particularly online, in the internal market. CESL would apply to cross-border sales contracts only, such as transactions made by consumers online. / read more

The US National Institute of Standards and Technology (‘NIST’) issued in October its Preliminary Cybersecurity Framework, a voluntary framework designed to aid those involved with critical infrastructure to manage cyber risks. Elizabeth A. Ferrell and Erin B. Sheppard of McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP outline the Framework’s components and assess the impact it might have on e-commerce. / read more

In the June edition of E-Commerce Law & Policy, we published an article entitled 'Permanent Establishment and the taxation of online business.’1 Since this article was published, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (‘OECD’) has published its action plan for addressing base erosion and profit shifting (‘BEPS’). This recognises a key issue that has had a high public profile, namely that a non-resident taxpayer can derive substantial profits from digital transactions with customers located in a different country without those profits being subject to corporate income taxes in that country. The first action point identified in that plan is to 'address the tax challenges of the digital economy.' The intention is for the OECD to issue a report on this topic by September 2014, and this report will need to address some of the most difficult issues that can give rise to BEPS. / read more

E-Commerce Law & Policy explores the biggest internet law concerns of 2013. / read more

About Digital Business Lawyer:

The monthly publication providing authoritative insights and thought leadership on the legal/regulatory issues affecting online business, covering distance selling, contracts, domain names, adblocking, advertising, cloud computing, net neutrality, e-privacy, data protection, cyber crime, the Internet of Things, social media, internet taxation and software / read more

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