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Digital Business Lawyer

Volume: 17 Issue: 7
(July 2015)


The European Commission (‘EC’) published on 12 June a consultation, to run until 3 September 2015, which aims to find solutions to contract law obstacles that limit the cross-border online sale of digital content and tangible goods. / read more

An agreement to enshrine the principle of net neutrality into EU law was reached on 30 June following trilogue negotiations between the EU Commission, the Council of Ministers and the Parliament, which will protect users’ rights to access content online without discrimination. / read more

Ministers from the Justice and Home Affairs Council of the EU (the ‘Council’) adopted on 15 June a general approach to the draft EU General Data Protection Regulation (‘GDPR’), allowing trilogue negotiations with the European Commission and the European Parliament (‘EP’) to begin. / read more


On 16 June the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights issued its long awaited judgment in Delfi AS v. Estonia, in which the court revisited intermediary liability for user-generated content in the context of a news portal. Agreeing with the earlier First Section decision, the Grand Chamber held that in finding a website operator to be liable for third party comments prior to notification, Estonia had not violated the operator’s Article 10 rights. Jennifer Agate of Farrer & Co LLP provides detailed analysis of the Grand Chamber’s decision and the implications for news websites. / read more

The Chinese government appears committed to ensuring that the regulatory regime surrounding e-commerce encourages further growth. Most recently, on 19 June the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology announced that it will allow full foreign ownership of e-commerce businesses for the first time. Dr. Falk Lichtenstein and Ciara Simmons of CMS, China, provide an overview of how Chinese e-commerce law is developing to bolster e-commerce across areas such as online payments and data protection. / read more

Google has announced plans to add a ‘Buy Now’ button to its mobile search results, allowing users to make online purchases from third party retailers without leaving Google’s pages. The move promises a faster, more efficient experience for users but threatens retailers’ ownership of their customers and their customers’ data. Dan Smith and Mathilda Davidson of Wragge Lawrence Graham & Co LLP discuss the implications for e-commerce, the broader trend by major online players towards new sources of revenue and consider the issues Google may face in implementing its new ‘Buy Now’ button. / read more

Online retailer Amazon announced in May that it will start to record retail sales in individual European countries. From 1 May, it will treat retail sales as being made in branches in the UK, Germany, Spain and Italy. It also announced that it will open a branch in France. Prior to this change, most of Amazon’s online retail sales in Europe were recorded in Luxembourg, where the European headquarters of Amazon are based; it is likely that the principal sales function is also located in Luxembourg and so profits from this activity were attributed to Amazon’s presence in Luxembourg. / read more

Given the focus in Europe on the Digital Single Market and in particular the challenges posed by restrictions to cross-border online trade, such as the use of geo-blocking measures, Miranda Cole and Nicoleta Tuominen of Covington & Burling take a look at recent cases in Germany that involve alleged restrictions on e-commerce. Miranda and Nicoleta discuss the work of authorities including Germany’s Competition Authority (the ‘FCO’) in exploring the scope of permitted restrictions on e-commerce. / read more

On 11 June 2015, the British Columbia Court of Appeal1 unanimously rejected Google Inc’s appeal of an order that it de-index from its search results, on a worldwide basis, websites advertising and selling products in violation of a successful plaintiff’s intellectual property rights2. The Court of Appeal balanced this with some notes of caution concerning the use of such orders with international implications. / read more

The evolution of the music industry has led to what might be termed a move from ownership to access, as consumers turn to online streaming services. The introduction of newer subscription services such as Tidal places a spotlight on the impact music streaming platforms are having on online music and related intellectual property rights. Tahir Basheer and William Smith of Sheridans consider the legal implications of streaming, and discuss what the future holds for the stakeholders in this sector. / 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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