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Digital Business Lawyer

Volume: 3 Issue: 8
(August 2001)


News

An action brought in California against both NeuLevel and ICANN over the launch process for .biz domain names has been attacked as 'without merit'. "We believe that the .biz domain name selection process is the most fair and equitable way to distribute domain names," said Jeffrey J. Neuman Director, Policy and Intellectual Property NeuLevel, Inc. / read more

A narrower interpretation of database rights in other European Union jurisdictions led the Appeal Court to refer the landmark British Horseracing Board v William Hill case to the European Court of Justice and overturn the injunction granted to the BHB in February. / read more

The European Commission has granted regulatory approval to the creation by Ford, DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, Renault and Nissan of Covisint, a Business-to-Business (B2B) internet marketplace joint venture. The Commission has decided that the notified project does not currently restrict competition in the sense of Article 81(1) of the EC Treaty. / read more


Features

Cross border consumer online contracts have already been the subject of heated debate. The EU's proposals for European wide contract law reform is set to re-launch the argument with even more vigour. In principle there is widespread agreement that more needs to be done to harmonise contract law so that local jurisdictional regulations do not act as barriers to competition. The EU Commission has put forward, as one option amongst others, a radical proposal to create a new instrument at the European Level. Some fear that creating a detailed instrument at this level will lead to unwieldy and impractical conclusions / read more

The International Chambers of Commerce (ICC) has attacked what it calls 'uncertainty as to the basic legal paradigm of consumer shopping on the internet' in a report from its Electronic Commerce Project (ECP)'s Ad hoc Task Force. It is sharply critical of the current confused jurisdictional framework. The report comments : 'Courts are claiming jurisdiction over and applying their countries' laws to websites of companies located outside of their geographic boundaries. Such reach could subject companies to the courts and laws of virtually any country from which their website can be accessed. These laws may be contradictory.' / read more

Cybersquatting is broadly condemned as wrong. The One in a Million case where dealers registered as domain names the trademarks of Marks & Spencer, British Telecomm-unications, Virgin Enterprises, J Sainsbury and Ladbroke Group received extensive media coverage. In contrast cases of reverse domain name hijacking are barely acknowledged. / read more

Limitless wireless communications have already been hyped and criticised before they even exist. Their success greatly depends on achieving a sensible balance in the protection of all interests involved.The third generation of European mobile communications may not be a reality yet. However, vast amounts of work and effort (let alone investment!) are being devoted to make it happen. The development of 3G technology is a huge step in the evolution of the so-called information society. However, the commercial success of 3G (as in the case of e-commerce) will depend on striking the right balance in the relationship between telecommunications providers, suppliers of products and services via 3G devices and consumers.The five UK licensees responsible for delivering 3G mobile communications (BTcellnet, Hutchison 3G, One2One, Orange and Vodafone) are already exploring possible commercial relationships with businesses from all sorts of unrelated industries such as banking, gaming, media and retail, to name a few. At the core of these relationships, there are a number of potentially conflicting interests involved which need to be carefully - yet realistically - addressed. / read more

The European Commission has launched a major consultation exercise on further options for harmonising contract law throughout the European Union seeking to gather information on the need for further far reaching action in the area of contract law. This article briefly sets out the background to these proposals and includes comments on the approach taken by the Commission so far in relation to harmonising contract law across the European Union and a consideration of the merits of the proposed options. / read more

The explosion in the use of the internet in recent years has opened up new markets for businesses. Indeed, it is the ability of the internet to reach directly into the homes of consumers which is one of its advantages. Today's youth has greater access to information and receives greater exposure to mass media than any generation before it. Add to this the fact that children are much more adept at using computers and navigating the internet than their parents, the result is that businesses that sell their wares on the web have the opportunity to tap into a very lucrative market.This article aims to consider the basic legal position of contracting with minors before going on to explore how businesses may wish either to restrict the risk of minors purchasing goods or services from them over the internet or alternatively maximise the ability for children to do so. It will also touch on the data protection issues involved. / read more

The concepts of offer and acceptance are amongst the oldest legal principles known today. But with the rise in online trading, the question of when an agreement between two parties becomes legally binding has entered the fray again. Lawyers all over the world are struggling to adapt theories, which up to now, barely registered in their conscious minds to new forms of communication facilitated by the latest technology. The recent US case involving Netscape has highlighted the dangers of a lack of clarity on these issues. / read more

The role of digital signatures as a fundamental building block of e-commerce has been underlined by the commitment of governments around the world to introduce enabling legislation for their use. In this, the first of a series of articles on the legal issues associated with digital signatures, we examine their structure and function in the creation of a Public key Infrastructure (PKI). / read more

On 11 July of this year, the US Senate Commerce Committee held a hearing entitled "The Need for Internet Privacy Legislation". In his introduction the Committee Chairman Ernest Hollings took up the Federal Trade Commission's recommendation for legislation to be passed by Congress to deal with privacy in the online environment, saying that "it is past time for action on this issue and I intend to introduce and report legislation to the full Senate before the end of this session". This article considers the prospects for data privacy legislation in the US. / read more

Online gambling has presented business and governments with a jurisdictional challenge that has resulted in a contradictory and confusing patchwork of legislation and regulatory approaches, The attitude of the legislatures to online gambling varies dramatically from country to country. / read more

The European Commission cleared agreements between a number of major European and non-European banks creating a global network ("Identrus") for the authentication of electronic signatures and other aspects related to financial and electronic commerce transactions. The agreements which were notified to the Commission for clearance in April 1999 enable participating financial institutions to operate as individual and competing certification authorities for the purposes of secure e-commerce transactions. / 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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