E-commerce is a business model that no business can afford to ignore - the issues arising from doing business online are pervasive in all areas of commercial law. Moreover, the Internet and associated communications technologies have spawned a series of new online services and business models that did not exist in the offline world. This course will tackle the legal challenges arising from doing business online.
Since e-commerce is based on the communication of information, intellectual property issues have played a crucial role in this emerging body of law. The perceived anonymity and intangibility of Internet communication has given rise to interesting legal issues concerning identification and security, as well as concerns about the validity and enforceability of contracts. As with each new way of doing business, consumer protection issues arise. E-commerce involves new players (such as online service providers and payment service providers) which gives rise to questions of allocation of risk and liability if things go wrong. Finally, probably the greatest challenge for business and regulators is the global nature of the Internet, which creates serious problems in identifying the applicable law and competent regulators for e-commerce activities.
This course will examine the emerging body of law covering these issues from a comparative law perspective, focusing mainly on European and U.S. law. The course will be taught by lectures (presentation) and seminars (student discussions focusing on a case-study or an actual case).