The Law vis-à-vis Electronic Commerce

The Law vis-à-vis Electronic Commerce

Assafa Endeshaw (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore)
Copyright: © 2000 |Pages: 21
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-878289-76-6.ch023
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A great deal of uncertainty surrounds the impact of the continuing growth of electronic commerce (e-commerce) on existing law. While commercial law has evolved over the centuries in response to the development of trade in goods and services, within or across nations,1 the emergence of an electronic medium (‘cyberspace’) as an additional avenue for trade has pushed to the fore many questions: whether and how an adaptation of existing law would be possible, appropriate or sufficient to catch up with the problems thrown up by the new medium. For one thing, the nature and effects of transactions that would ordinarily have been taken for granted had they occurred on non-electronic media confound established notions of commercial law. Secondly, the unpredictability of the ultimate consequence of such transactions to the respective trading partners, who would be more likely to come from different jurisdictions, prompts scrutiny of pre-existing, widely accepted formulations in domestic trade law, custom and treaty among nations. A major feature of the emergent situation is that the impact of e-commerce on the law has not been across the board, simply because e-commerce has not been developing evenly. Most transactions to date relate to the purchase of computer hardware or software or the supply of information of various types: plain news, financial data, entertainment, education, travel, advertisements, health and DIY tips. These items have one characteristic, namely the buyers’ lack of interest in, or disregard of, any need to have to conduct checking or inspection prior to purchase or, at any rate, before delivery. In light of the general uncertainty surrounding the status of the online buyer and seller, the relevant law and of how it might be applied on behalf of a buyer claiming redress, the purchase of “safe” items acquires a precautionary significance. In other words, the very nature of the items involved in the transactions seems to rule out any fundamental failure that could surface at a later stage and necessitate the intervention of the law to resolve the consequences of that failure. Obviously, once money has passed from the buyer to the seller, the path to recovery of that money, let alone further damages as would be expected under normal contract law, could be too complicated for the buyer to understand or pursue. What makes the plight of an on-line buyer who seeks redress intractable is that solutions to on-line legal disputes are only just evolving in bits and pieces. New rules have begun to emerge in the form of statutory reforms in single jurisdictions or through case decisions on disputes arising from on-line transactions. However, the ambit and applicability of the evolving laws tend to be subject to time, the nature of the concrete problems they are meant to address, as well as the diverse contexts. Consequently, pre-existing laws have not undergone modification or replacement by the emergence of e-commerce in all respects, to the same extent, nor in every jurisdiction. This chapter explores the nature of legal changes that have been propelled by the onset of e-commerce and the likely course of future developments. First, we present a brief summary of the impacts on contract law followed by a discussion on the liabilities arising from on-line transactions. Then, the focus is on issues of security and privacy of transactions. Finally, we cover the incipient forms of dispute resolution in e-commerce. The conclusion affirms that the law as applied to e-commerce is still in continuous flux and will take more time to acquire a definite shape. In particular, it underscores the urgency of meeting with the ever-apparent demand for an international treaty or agreement, at least parallel to existing treaties in contracts or sales.

Complete Chapter List

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Table of Contents
Syed Mahbubhur Rahman, Mahesh S. Raisinghani
Chapter 1
Mahesh S. Raisinghani
At the brink of the new millennium, in global economy and commerce, there has been a dramatic increase in the role of information technology in... Sample PDF
Electronic Commerce at the Dawn of the Third Millennium
Chapter 2
David Gordon, James E. Skibo
The selling of goods and services on the Internet has evolved from a hypothetical business concept into a thriving, multi-billion dollar industry... Sample PDF
Building E-Commerce From the Ground Up: A Study of the Retail Industry
Chapter 3
Robert B. Johnston
Many authors (Cunningham and Tynan, 1993; Dearing, 1990; Johnston, 1998; Rochester, 1989; Skagen, 1989; Swatman, 1993) now recognize that the... Sample PDF
Principles of Digitally Mediated Replenishment of Goods: Electronic Commerce and Supply Chain Reform
Chapter 4
Ronald M. Lee
This chapter introduces the concept of an electronic trade scenario as an aid to the management of (global) supply chains, and other forms of... Sample PDF
Electronic Trade Scenario for Global Supply Chains
Chapter 5
Charles Trappey, Amy Trappey, Thomas Gulledge, Rainer Sommer
Beginning in 1993, when the U.S. Federal Government proposed the “framework of electronic commerce (EC),” the call went out for the wide-scale... Sample PDF
Promoting Electronic Commerce in the Defense Industry
Chapter 6
Mohammed A. Quaddus
Diffusion is the process by which a new technology spreads in its usage among a population. This chapter analyses the diffusion process of one... Sample PDF
Diffusion of Electronic Commerce in Australia: A Preliminary Investigation
Chapter 7
Liaquat Hossain
This chapter examines the risk factors for firms investing in e-commerce or electronic commerce in New Zealand. The relationships between the intra... Sample PDF
Planning E-Strategies for New Zealand Firms: A CSF Framework for Investigating in E-Commerce Projects
Chapter 8
Andreas Mitrakas
Open EDI is a concept appropriate to address the needs of commercial business-to-business relationships in an open environment. While open EDI, an... Sample PDF
Electronic Commerce Contracting for Open EDI
Chapter 9
R. C. MacGregor, D. J. Bunker
Small/ medium enterprises (SMEs) represent a sizeable proportion of the GDP of most western economies. Not only are they the single largest employer... Sample PDF
EDI and Small/Medium Enterprises
Chapter 10
Rahul A. Sarker, Mahbubur Rahman Syed
Electronic data interchange (EDI) technology gives organizations an opportunity to exchange their information and messages electronically, instead... Sample PDF
Economics of EDI Investments
Chapter 11
Marium Fergusson
The Internet offers enormous potential as a means of communication, doing business and providing channels for service delivery. The most striking... Sample PDF
Internet Business Models for Government Agencies
Chapter 12
Joan Cooper, Lois Burgess
The commercialisation of the Internet has led to widespread usage of on-line services and being connected to the Internet has become a high priority... Sample PDF
A Model of Internet Commerce Adoption (Mica)
Chapter 13
Ly Fie Sugianto, Sen Sendjaya
Internet commerce has brought forward a new spectrum of business practice. It radically changes the way we do business. These changes have been... Sample PDF
E-Retailing: New Opportunities In Internet Commerce
Chapter 14
Thomas F. Stafford, Marla Royne Stafford
The purpose of this chapter is to explore theoretical background and previous research on new media uses and motivations as an avenue to... Sample PDF
Consumer Motivations for Commercial Web Site Use: Antecedents to Electronic Commerce
Chapter 15
Boon-Chye Lee
The payments system is a linchpin of the modern economy. Transactions involving non-cash payment for goods, services, or the transfer of asset... Sample PDF
The Retail Payments System and Internet Commerce
Chapter 16
Teoh Kok Poh, Sheng-Uei Guan
The introduction of smart card technology offers an alternative for user authentication and storage medium for data that require both high security... Sample PDF
Internet-enabled Smart Card Agent Environment and Applications
Chapter 17
Klaus Turowski
The Internet has created a tremendous opportunity to conduct business electronically. By this, innovative business concepts—such as virtual... Sample PDF
Supporting Innovative Competitive Strategies as Mass Customization by Pairing E-Commerce Techniques with Agent Technology
Chapter 18
Xun Yi, Chee Kheong Siew, Mahbubur Rahman Syed
Because electronic commerce provides customers with more convenient and more money-saving services than conventional trading, it has seen explosive... Sample PDF
Electronic Commerce Based on Software Agent
Chapter 19
Timothy K. Shih
The Internet changes our shopping style. With the growing popularity of Web browsers, electronic commerce (EC) has become a trend of next-generation... Sample PDF
A Mobile Agent Computation Model for Best Buy Searching
Chapter 20
Yang Yang, Sheng-Uei Guan
With the proliferation of Internet, electronic commerce (e-commerce) is beginning to take the center stage in the commerce world. Transactions via... Sample PDF
The Design and Architecture of a Secure Agent Transport Protocol for E-Commerce
Chapter 21
T. Deshani Rodrigo, Peter A. Stanski
E-commerce technologies are continually evolving, bringing about innovative developments and resultant benefits. Herein one such visionary path for... Sample PDF
The Evolving Future of Agent-Based Electronic Commerce
Chapter 22
Matthew Warren, William Hutchinson
In the developed world, the influence of information systems can now be seen in most operational areas of business. A significant result of these... Sample PDF
The Use of the Internet by Terrorists and Its Impact Upon Electronic Commerce
Chapter 23
Assafa Endeshaw
A great deal of uncertainty surrounds the impact of the continuing growth of electronic commerce (e-commerce) on existing law. While commercial law... Sample PDF
The Law vis-à-vis Electronic Commerce
Chapter 24
Severine Dusollier, Laetitia Rolin Jacquemyns
In the Communication on Electronic Commerce of 19971 , the European Commission stressed that “in order to allow electronic commerce operators to... Sample PDF
The Challenge of the Law to Electronic Commerce: The European Union Initiatives
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