Implementing European E-Commerce Legislation
This is the “anchor” project for the theme “Legal Frameworks for Electronic Business and the Information Society”. The development of a legal framework to foster e-commerce in Europe has long been regarded as the holy grail for future European prosperity (see earlier work in Edwards and Waelde, Law and the Internet II: A Framework for Electronic Commerce, Hart, 2000), yet following the bursting of the dot.com bubble it is even more uncertain both in the EU and the US what regulation is now appropriate. The Electronic Commerce Directive due to be implemented by January 2002 is the first major legislative measure enacted by the EU intended to address the e-commerce phenomenon as a whole, previous European legislation having either impacted on the Internet without being specifically designed for it (e.g. the Distance Selling Directive; the Data Protection Directive), or addressing only one small sector of law (e.g. the E-Money Directives). The E-Commerce Directive by contrast covers a wide variety of topics including the principle of country of origin regulation, regulation of “information society services”, commercial communications and unsolicited junk email, electronic contracting, liability of ISPs (Internet service providers) and alternative dispute resolution.
Free Trade and IT-based Businesses
Since the departure of Lilian Edwards to Southampton as Chair of Internet Law, this project has taken a change of direction, looking more widely than Europe. The "Free Trade and IT-based businesses" theme examines the impact of free trade agreements, which have long been controversial. Led by Guadamuz and Brown, Co-Directors, working with Jordan Hatcher, Research Assistant , this project moves forward from the traditional focus on intellectual property aspects of free trade agreements, particularly in areas of patents and public health.
This research project analyses the causes for concern in respect of information technology, and the restrictions imposed by free trade agreements on the ability of countries, particularly in developing areas, to take full advantage of the opportunity and flexibility offered by information technology to develop new and competitive economies. The project examines existing empirical research and relevant legal and policy writings, on the reasons for and consequences of free trade agreements, with particular reference to the CAFTA and information technology based business; and identifies current and prospective legal and practical challenges, and key thought leaders and activists from all perspectives. A blog with regular updates is available at: http://freetrade.opencontentlaw.org/
Initial scoping report now available. Click here to view PDF (326 KB)
Click here to view HTML Version.