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E-commerce law plays a crucial role in the business world and never ceases to evolve. Distance selling has been much simplified by the development of internet that brought new possibilities for the trading and marketing channels. Moreover, trade contracts became faster, simpler and cheaper. In today’s world it only takes a couple of clicks to provide service through internet.
However, from a legal perspective, the e-commerce industry looks more complicated. There are multiple issues that need to be solved: contractual relationships, choice of applicable law, advertising, jurisdiction, IP, enforcement, taxation, privacy and data protection.
If you are looking for legal assistance in e-commerce law, COREDO will be happy to be at your service.
Generally speaking, we can call any form of commercial activity that involves electronic means of communication an e-commerce. As electronic means following can be regarded:
It also defines the contract type depending on with who it is concluded: Business to business (B2B) or Business to customer (B2C).
Since the 1990s legal regulators actively showed their interest in the e-commerce. Multiple non-governmental and international stakeholders issued first legal regulations for this area in the end of the 20th century. Although, the documents were different, they all had the very similar principle. Their goal was to determine what the legal difficulties related to e-commerce were and how it was possible to overcome them. Moreover, the regulation documents discussed possible ways of simplifying access to the e-commerce for consumers and businesses.
Legal specialists in COREDO are available for providing more information on the topic of legal aspects of e-commerce.
At first the e-commerce as we know it originated in the USA. This is where the first transaction through the internet was processed. The time passed by and electronic processes became a usual daily operation for many institutions in the US like the ABA.
One of the ABA’s most significant acts is the UETA, that aimed at regulating e-commerce in the US. This document is supposed to create a regime of electronic transactions in the United States on the basis of electronic signatures. Its another goal was to present new rules for electronic commerce in the states where these regulations did not exist before.
Despite addressing thoroughly the issues of the legality of electronic records and signatures, there are still many questions involving e-commerce that the UETA Act does not address.
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The Electronic Commerce Directive was adopted by the EU Parliament in 2000. This document became a key instrument for e-commerce issues regulations. After the world saw the Doctrine, there were other documents designed to form the e-commerce basis and make transactions in the EU smoother.
Later, other directives connected to the e-commerce were presented. The activities of the EU Court were just as important for creating the so needed regulations and restrictions for the e-commerce area. It can even be stated that the EU had successfully developed an appropriate environment for electronic commercial transactions.
Asian countries started at developing e-commerce distinctively later that the EU and US. Trying to catch with the other countries, the members of ASEAN organization in 2000 passed the ASEAN Framework Agreement and adopted multiple legislative projects for the online trading sector development.
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When it comes to Africa and South America, these continents’ jurisdictions are more behind in the e-commerce development. An example for this statement can be the fact that many countries in these regions still have not signed international agreements on e-commerce or adopt the UNCITRAL Model Law.
UNICITRAL was founded in 1966 and is a UN commission that works on harmonizing conventions and model laws from different countries for developing suitable international trade rules. Most importantly, UNICITRAL published recommendations on the legal value of the electronic records. After the legal framework was created in the end of the 20th– beginning of the 21st centuries, it became a fundament for e-commerce legal requirements in various countries. Afterwards, the commission issued the Model Law on E-commerce and Model Law on the Electronic signatures. Their aim was to promote using electronic messages for trading goods.
It is also worth mentioning that international organizations have contributed substantially to the development of the e-commerce regulation.
The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) played an important role in the international trade development as an international intergovernmental organization. Establishing a global e-commerce regime is the organization’s biggest goals to achieve. The policies of OECD focus primarily on consumer protection, privacy, protection of personal data, taxation. Later in time this list of priorities included online payment, online fraud, dispute resolution, control and management of digital rights.
It is time now to discuss another international organization – the WTO. It was founded in 1995 with the goal of promoting trade agreements that help settle disputes peacefully. Two yeas after the creation of the UNICITRAL Model Law, the Declaration on Global E-commerce was published and is the main document from WTO regulating e-commerce.
In order to play a big role in the e-commerce development the WIPO adopted multiple agreements like WCT or WPPT. The document called WCT talks about the question of which computer programs, databases and literary works fall under the protective mode of WIPO.
The leading international and domestic effort in regulating the area of electronic commerce was brought by the ICANN, founded in 1998. This organization manages domain names and the development process of an operation base for the commercial use.
Besides international organizations and other legislative bodies, there also are groups of individuals for whom e-commerce development is also very interesting. The effort of these groups is also significant in the course of creating trustmarks related to e-commerce. The point of this movement is to reassure future customers that online shops are safe and to prevent cybercrime.
Consider contacting COREDO for receiving ore information and legal advice regarding e-commerce in any foreign jurisdiction. We can also help with obtaining trade licenses or registering a company in Europe.