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Digital Business Lawyer

Volume: 4 Issue: 1
(January 2002)


A European Commission report into the European car market recommends that car manufacturers should be allowed to exclude online retailers from their approved dealer network. The report, which was leaked to The Financial Times, argued that ‘supermarkets and online retailers, could be excluded’ as their presence in the market ‘would lead to a strong concentration in the distribution sector with decreasing prices in the short term but less consumer satisfaction and higher prices in the long term’. / read more

The agreement between ToysRUs and the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, in which the company will ‘clarify its Internet privacy policy’ and pay $50,000 to the State is indicative of the tougher stance data protection authorities are taking on both sides of the Atlantic. / read more

The UK Law Commission has concluded that even without the Electronic Commun-ications Act 2000, ‘e-mails and website trading will generally satisfy the Interpretation Act definition of writing’. / read more


The UK Law Commission’s Advice to the UK government on legislative reform to take account of the development of e-commerce makes fascinating reading. The Advice ‘considers the formal requirements which apply in relation to commercial matters in England and Wales, for example where the law requires ‘writing’, a ‘signature’, or a ‘document’, and asks whether electronic communications of various kinds are capable of satisfying those requirements or whether legislation is required’. / read more

The summer of 2000 will be remembered by many as the time when the new economy got cold. However, that summer was also the beginning of a legislative process that has become the centre of a heated debate affecting all of those involved in e-business. On 12 July 2000, the European Commission adopted a proposal for a Directive concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector. / read more

The online digital distribution of music has been the hottest topic of debate for some time within the music industry. While virtually no-one will admit to earning any serious revenue from this as yet (discounting for these purposes the online equivalent of mail-order distribution) the most recent forecast from Internet research analysts Jupiter MMXI, is that online music revenue will grow to $5.5billion by 2006. It is questionable, however, that online delivery will completely replace the market for physical product until many years after that, if ever.

It is well known that the technology already exists to effect peer-to-peer online distribution.1 However, until broadband access is more widely available, the technology can be cumbersome and, as Napster users discovered, the quality is not always perfect. But perfection in terms of speed, reliability and achieving master-quality copies is certainly not far off. As has happened so often before, these technological developments have left the law standing and, on this occasion, the industry running to catch up with having to develop new licensing models. / read more

A recent Forrester report predicts that retail sales across Europe will top €33 billion in 2002, rising to around €150 billion in 2006. With various online payment systems now available, from the established credit and debit cards to the latest developments in smart card technology, competition over the purchasing system of choice can only intensify. To date, the majority of online transactions are conducted with the aid of credit or debit cards, so round one has been won by the card industry. However the smart card and OEM developers are busy preparing for round two. / read more

The recent decision of the Court of Appeal in a libel action brought against the Times newspaper by a Dr Loutchansky has provided confirmation that, in relation to the time limit for bringing a libel claim, the law will view each occasion on which material is accessed on a website as a further publication. There are clearly implications from the decision for both content providers and the owners of websites who provide access to archived material; potentially an action may be brought in relation to that material many years after it was first published. But for ISPs, who may not responsible for putting the material onto the website, but only for providing the technical infrastructure, the implications are less straight forward. / read more

Until recently, as far as commercial businesses were concerned, the top level domains that mattered included ‘.com’; ‘.net’; and ‘.org’ and the 243 country code Top Level Domains (ccTLDs) reflecting countries of origin such as ‘.jp’ for Japan. With the recent introduction by the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) of the new generic Top Level Domains (gTLDs) ‘.biz’ and ‘.info’1 and “.eu” on the horizon, brand owners now have to consider to what extent they need to secure their key brands in these new domains, if only for defensive reasons. Furthermore, as the nature of the Internet community evolves and the proportion of non native English speaking internet users is about to exceed native English speakers2, a brand owner needs to build the newly emerging non-roman script Multilingual Domain Names (MLDs) into its world view. However, it is clearly impossible to register every possible variation of domain in every top level domain and language. This article conducts a brief review of the pros and cons of each type of domain in the context of registration of a company’s main brands. It then goes on to consider prioritising registration of a company’s names in domains including variations on main brands and discusses how best to formulate a registration strategy to protect a company’s interests, yet keep its stable of domain names manageable and efficient. / 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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