E-commerce and the Internet have created new ways in which businesses can relate to their customers, suppliers, partners and investors. The Internet's open architecture allows new relationships, channels and ways of doing business among manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, service providers and end-users. These relationships are beginning to challenge the traditional distribution structure that dominated 20th century commerce, sometimes with great success and sometimes with no success. Equally important, information developed by businesses engaged in e-commerce is becoming as important as the products being sold, and in many cases, information has become the product. Any company that does business on the internet faces a variety of legal issues; forming contracts, abiding by consumer protection laws, creating privacy policies. These issues are global in nature and constantly evolving. My article discusses some of the legal aspects with e-commerce. .
What exactly is e-commerce?.
The easiest definition to understand is:.
"Electronic commerce is any form of business transaction in which the parties interact electronically rather than by physical exchange or contact.".
In the new millennium, there is more awareness that the World Wide Web provides immediate access to a broader international customer base than ever before possible, both businesses and consumers. Many businesses have been formed or expanded to target this market. In seeking this business opportunity, there are many international legal dimensions to consider including contract formation practices and requirements; consumer protection including privacy and local language requirements; and protection of databases and other information on web sites.
International Legal Rules.
The internet, by its very nature, is borderless. This is a big plus for communications and for disseminating knowledge around the world, but it poses considerable difficulties for businesses trying to protect their contractual rights and for legal enforcement agencies trying to protect people's general rights.