Internet Advertising: Legal Aspects in the European Union

Internet Advertising: Legal Aspects in the European Union

Radomír Jakab (University of P. J. Safarik, Slovakia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-61350-132-0.ch015
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As can be derived from its name, Internet advertising means any form of promoting products or services through the Internet. This form of advertising can be distinguished into more forms such as e-mail advertising, on-line advertisements, corporate and marketing websites. Such differentiation is important from a legal point of view as well. Besides the definition and classification of Internet advertising, this chapter is mainly aimed at an analysis of the applicable European law regulating this area: such as general requirements for advertising, including its Internet form or rules relating to unsolicited commercial communications (spam). Further, when advertising through the Internet, rules designed for the protection against unfair commercial practices or prohibited comparative advertisements may be challenged. The objective of this chapter is not only to analyze some relevant provision of the European law but also to submit proposals for its improvement if needed.
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The Internet is relatively a new phenomenon that has, perhaps, affected each type of human activity. During its approximately vicennial history it has changed how people spend their leisure time, how they work and communicate with each other, how they are being entertained and mostly how people think. The Internet has changed almost everything including ways of doing business and practices used for this purpose.

“What is the Internet? It is a network of networks” that operates on a set of technical protocols that enables people from around the world to access and exchange information using tools such as World Wide Web, e-mail, chat rooms, etc.” (Schumann & Thorson, 2007, p. 15). “It is a system of linked computer networks, international in scope, that facilitates data transfer and communication services, such as remote login, file transfer (FTP), electronic mail (e-mail), newsgroups, and the World Wide Web.” (Jansen, 2002, p. 218-219).

“One of the fastest growing internet-based applications is electronic-commerce (e-commerce); the use of the internet as a system to facilitate the exchange of commercial information (e.g. advertising and marketing material) and the execution of commercial transactions (e.g. processing of orders and payments)” (Delta & Matsuura, 2002, p. 12). “The emerging e-commerce market gave rise to a multitude of legal questions ranging from such areas as on-line contracting to digital signatures to copyright” (Vogel, 2003, p. 29).

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