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Digital Business Lawyer

Volume: 18 Issue: 7
(July 2016)


Following the UK’s vote to leave the European Union on 24 June 2016, the UK’s ongoing role as part of the European Digital Single Market (‘DSM’) following Brexit is far from clear and despite the eventual shape of the negotiations to come, the UK’s changing relationship with the EU will no doubt have a significant impact on UK businesses operating online, especially relating to intellectual property rights. “Even if some type of single market deal is done between Britain and the EU, the UK will inevitably lose its leading role in influencing the final shape of the DSM, which could have a negative impact for digital and e-commerce businesses based in the UK,” explains Nick Fenner, Partner at TLT LLP. / read more

The Higher Regional Court of Cologne provided publisher Axel Springer with a partial victory against ad-blocking provider Eyeo on 20 June 2016, ruling that Eyeo’s use of a ‘whitelist’ of publishers and advertisers that are exempt from blocking in return for payment, in combination with a ‘blacklist’ of companies whose adverts are blanket blocked, is an anti-competitive practice and is therefore illegal under the German Act Against Unfair Competition. / read more

On 14 June 2016, the US Court of Appeal for the District of Columbia upheld the validity of the Federal Communications Commission’s (‘FCC’) net neutrality rules, which classify broadband services as telecommunication services as opposed to information services. The FCC’s net neutrality rules ban ISPs from favouring certain types of content over others. / read more

India’s Committee of State Finance Ministers published the draft Goods and Services Tax Act 2016 (‘GST’) on 7 June 2016, which aims to simplify the tax structure in India and introduce uniformity across all States; a development that will have implications for e-commerce businesses in regards to the rate and structure of taxation. / read more

In an open letter on the 21 June 2016, the UK’s Competition and Markets Authority (‘CMA’) has provided information to retailers and suppliers on the practices it considers resale price maintenance and what companies should do, if they have or may have been involved in such anti-competitive practices. With the rise of e-commerce, new pressure on suppliers has affected pricing, leading to some illegally controlling prices at which products are sold and advertised, explains Simon Barnes, Partner at Shoosmiths LLP. / read more

The Cyberspace Administration of China ('CAC') released, on 28 June 2016, Provisions on the Administration of Mobile Internet Applications Services ('the Provisions'), aimed at regulating the increasing use of mobile apps, enhancing the healthy development of the industry and protecting citizens' rights. In particular, Articles 7 and 8 of the Provisions impose privacy compliance obligations on mobile app service providers and app stores. / read more

The UK Government introduced on 5 July 2016 the draft Digital Economy Bill 2016 (‘Bill’), which contains a number of measures relating to, inter alia, digital infrastructure, IP and access to digital services, with the intention of maintaining and expanding upon the UK’s position in the digital economy. / read more

On 14 July 2016, the European Commission (‘Commission’) published supplementary Statements of Objections in the antitrust proceedings against Google, alleging that Google (owned by parent company, Alphabet) favours its own comparison shopping services over competitors in its search results, and secondly that Google’s apparent use of exclusivity or limitation agreements imposed on third party websites leaves them little choice but to display adverts almost entirely from Google. / read more

The United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Manhattan on 15 July 2016 handed down its judgment in Microsoft v. United States, with Judge Susan Carney, writing for the majority, finding that the US Stored Communications Act 1986 (‘SCA’) does not authorise the courts to “issue and enforce against U.S.-based service providers warrants for the seizure of customer e-mail content that is stored exclusively on foreign servers.” / read more


Following the result of the UK’s EU referendum, E-Commerce Law & Policy spoke to legal experts about their immediate reactions to the UK’s vote to leave the European Union and how Brexit might impact UK based e-commerce businesses. Dr Ulrich Baumgartner, Partner at Osborne Clarke, Simon Briskman, Partner at Fieldfisher, and Stewart Room, Partner at PwC, share their initial views on the UK’s changing relationship with Europe, with a specific focus on e-commerce, data protection and IT. / read more

The UK’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee (‘the Committee’) published its report on 20 June 2016 on Cyber Security: Protection of Personal Data Online. The report is the outcome of the inquiry launched on 3 November 2015, as a result of the TalkTalk data breach on 21 October 2015. Amongst the findings, the Committee has highlighted that, although the data breach was a trigger for the inquiry, cyber crime is a significant and growing problem and affects all sectors with an online platform or service. / read more

In light of the United Kingdom choosing to leave the EU on the 24 June 2016, this transition will undoubtedly impact data protection. Francis Aldhouse, Former Deputy Information Commissioner and Ruth Boardman, Co-head of International Data Protection Practice at Bird & Bird, discuss the potential implications of Brexit, providing detail on a range of issues facing e-commerce businesses in the UK. / read more

The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (‘DMCA’), a 1998 amendment to US copyright law, notably introduced the ‘notice and takedown’ procedure for the removal of alleged copyright-infringing material online. The DMCA has not been without controversy, and the US Copyright Office is now considering possible reform. Mark S. Lee, Partner at Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP, explains the background to the DMCA and the arguments for and against significant changes to the way the ‘notice and takedown’ procedure operates. / read more

On 25 May 2016, the European Commission released a set of plans to encourage cross-border e-commerce across the EU. Dr Alexander Niethammer, Partner at Eversheds, analyses the legislative proposals put forward and the potential implications for e-commerce companies. / read more

The UK Competition and Markets Authority (‘CMA’) has produced a review into consumer law compliance in the cloud storage sector. The review, which was published on 27 May 2016, was prompted by consumer concerns about price and service changes for cloud storage. / read more

India’s Geospatial Information Regulation Bill 2016 was released on 4 May 2016 by the Ministry of Home Affairs for public comment. The proposed Bill would make acquiring, publishing or distributing any geospatial information of India, subject to the prior approval of a government authority, which would have a significant impact on online services providers that use location data. Salman Waris, Head of the TMT & IP practice groups at TechLegis Advocates & Solicitors, provides detailed analysis of the proposed Bill and the potential impact of the Bill, which he believes presents a step back for India to a time of regulatory stagnation. / 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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