E-Commerce - Legal Aspects

Legal Information about E-Commerce

E-Commerce - Legal Aspects

Electronic commerce, commonly known as e-commerce or eCommerce, refers to the Internet based industry of buying and selling products or services via electronic means. E-Commerce uses a combination of Internet technology, mobile commerce, electronic funds transfers, escrowing services, electronic data interchange, supply chain management, inventory management systems, Internet marketing, data collection systems, and many other technologies and innovative business systems. Most, if not all, e-commerce transactions use the Internet for at least one point of the transaction. 

While e-commerce can take on many forms, one of the most common practices related to electronic commerce is the practice of "e-tailing." Also known as "virtual storefronts," this is the practice of listing products for sale in a catalog format on a website. Some e-tail sites (perhaps most notably Amazon.com) take this a step further and aggregate numerous smaller stores into a unified system like a "virtual mall." 

Other examples of ecommerce include subscription sites, mobile application sales, electronic book purchases, online auctions, and the procurement of various services via the web.
  • ABA - Electronic Commerce Law Subcommittee

    The American Bar Association Electronic Commerce Subcommittee develops and recommends efficient, flexible and equitable policies, principles, and practices for business-to-business and business-to-consumer electronic commerce. It's actively engaged in projects directly aqnd through three working groups: the Consumer Protection Working Group; the Working Group on Transferability of Electronic Assets, and the Electronic Contracting Practices Working Group.

  • Basic Guide to E-Commerce

    Guide to doing business over the internet/web. Includes: Basics; Getting a Computer, Connecting to the Internet, and Developing a Web Page; Understanding Electronic Data Interchange (EDI); Building and Managing a Virtual Team; Product Development; Developing Your Online Store, Online Transactions, etc.; Online Marketing and Monetizing Your Website; and Other General Resources.

  • E-Commerce and Tax Law Journal

    A legal publication created and published by the Internet Business Law Services (IBLS), the world's largest Internet law publisher and Thomas Jefferson School of Law Masters in Law Program. The Law Journal publishes writings by academics, practitioners and policy makers on a variety of topics, including e-commerce, electronic contracting, techno torts, cyber crime, privacy, Internet taxation, international taxation, etc

  • E-Commerce and the Law

    An e-commerce guide that covers: E-commerce Regulations; Tips for complying with the E-commerce Regulations; Regulations applying to telephone and fax marketing; Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations; Tips for complying with the Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations; E-commerce and the Data Protection Act 1998; Distance Selling Regulations; and Provision of Services Regulations.

  • FTC - Online Advertising and Marketing

    The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the primary federal agency regulating e-commerce activities, including use of commercial e-mails, online advertising and consumer privacy. This page provides information and links to legal resources, which include: Case Highlights; Reports and Workshops; Laws, Rules, and Guides; and Compliance Documents.

  • SSL Privacy Seal Program - Guardian eCommerce

    SSL Privacy Seal Program is a third party site verification provided by Guardian eCommerce. Its primary objective is to help protect online consumers worldwide by identifying safe and trustworthy web sites.

  • UNCITRAL - Electronic Commerce

    The United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) was established by the General Assembly in 1966 to further the progressive harmonization and unification of the law of international trade. The Commission has since come to be the core legal body of the United Nations system in the field of international trade law.

Starting an E-Business

Starting an E-Business is much like starting any other form of business, except that the company usually exists primarily or entirely on the Internet. There are many reasons to set up a business online: it is cheap, your catalog is easy to maintain and keep current, you can communicate with customers directly via blogs and email without the costs of mailings, there are usually much lower staffing costs, you can be open 24 hours a day, and you are open to a global market. There are many other reasons you may want to consider opening an online business. But, the process is not free of its share of legal pitfalls, as well. The resources below will help to guide you through the process of investigating and establishing your E-Business and helping it grow and succeed.

Domain Names

Domain Names. The choice of a domain name involves more than simply selecting a name not already registered by someone else. A domain name can function as a trademark or service mark, which is a term or symbol used to create an exclusive association in the marketplace between a company and the goods and services it sells. Think, for example, of Google, AOL, or Facebook. Their company and web address are virtually synonymous, as are hundreds of other companies. If your choice of domain name is so similar to another company’s domain name, or other trademark or service mark, that it is likely to cause confusion among consumers and your company may be subject to allegations of trademark infringement. There are a number of other legal and practical considerations to work through before settling on a domain name for your business. The resources below will help guide you through the process of choosing an ideal domain name and bringing your brand to the Internet.

Articles on HG.org Related to E-Commerce

  • Stricter Bitcoin Tax Regulations Passed
    Once Bitcoin funds are sold, the Internal Revenue Service expects to receive payment for these investments just as any other item sold through invested monies. As time progresses, these agencies of the government are becoming more aggressive in seeking the payment owed with those that reside or have primary residency in the United States.
  • Launching an Online Retail Store: Do I Need a Business or Internet Lawyer?
    When launching any type of online business, there are numerous factors to consider that may involve taxation, payment choices and intellectual property rights such as trademarks, copyrights and trade secrets. Before finalizing everything, it is important to contact a lawyer to ensure everything is valid and legitimate.
  • Does Using Bitcoins Increase Your Odds of Being Audited?
    With the Internal Revenue Service attempting to wage war on Bitcoin companies such as Coinbase, it is possible that these agencies of the government may attempt to use the client and customer base to audit and progress to criminal charges against some. While this is a possibility, it does not mean anyone with Bitcoin funds run the risk of an audit.
  • Expanding into Global E-Commerce: Legal Considerations
    The rise of global e-commerce is changing the face of business around the world. The US share of that global e-commerce is steadily dropping, while China and the developing world are rapidly developing staggering market shares of retail and wholesale e-commerce. In 2016, the global retail e-commerce market was worth $1.86 trillion; the estimates are the value of global online commerce to rise to $4.48 trillion by 2021.
  • Tips for Dealing with Digital Assets
    Digital assets are still a relatively new item for many business owners and individuals with monetary and property assets. However, it is important to understand how these work, what to do with them and especially what is needed to protect the family in the event of the death of the owner of the assets so that they are able to retain them after he or she dies.
  • Does Moderating Your Website Make You Liable for Copyright Infringement?
    Online platform providers are increasingly looking for ways to curate user generated content, both to promote good content and filter bad content. As a recent example, YouTube has taken steps to demonetize channels that may not align with the values of their advertisement buyers. Nearly everyone running an online platform is working on removing internet troll comments.
  • A Ransomware Infection Risks Business Health
    Ransomware is a menacing cyber threat because it exposes a business to cyber extortion. A ransomware infection can harm a business by opening up its legal risks and shutting down its operations.
  • How to Transfer Ownership in a Digital Business and Digital Assets
    In the electronic age, there are many businesses upgrading to the digital and buying and selling digital assets. However, there are not as many that know how to transfer the ownership of a company primarily running on online products and services.
  • Trademark Selection and Response to Trademark Office Actions
    Trademarks help consumers to make informed decisions about goods and services that they purchase. Selection of branding for a business should include advice from a marketing professional and a trademark search performed by an intellectual property attorney. The trademark search can identify issues that should be promptly addressed and should prepare a business to either avoid a trademark office action or to develop a winning argument in response to the office action.
  • Should You Invest in a Resale Franchise?
    There are many reasons franchisees decide to sell their franchise – life changes like death, divorce or retirement comes to mind – and if you are looking at investing in a resale franchise, you should neither discount nor leap into it without careful investigation.

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