6 Sep 2010

Law relating to Regulation of Electronic Commerce

Electronic Commerce has been one area which has defied traditional concepts and thus has posed not just one but peculiar both for the law-makers as well those seeking legal protection against acts commercial on the electronic broad-way. While jurisdiction of countries or rather the lack of it is the core concern, the issues are now much more advanced and a mere attempt to take a cognitive note of these itself leads to vital issues. In this backdrop, the paper entitled Electronic Commerce Law: Direct Regulation, Co-Regulation and Self-Regulation by Jane K. Winn comes recently uploaded on SSRN comes to serve as an able backgrounder on the issues involved. 

The paper makes an attempt to analyze the different dimensions affecting the information and communication technologies and thus the method which best suits their regulation i.e. direct regulation or co-regulation or self-regulation. Taking note of the traditional legal doctrines and aptly summarizing the current legal position and attempts to bring electronic commerce transactions to the book, the author takes turn to examine each of these three methodologies towards ascertaining the correct method thereof. 

The abstract reads as under;
The global integration of markets has both eroded the sovereignty of national governments in regulating their domestic economies and also given rise to distinctive new forms of regulation whose authority may be largely independent of any national government. Information and communication technologies (ICT) contribute to this trend by supporting the development of self-regulatory systems that are embedded in global ICT networks subject to strong network effects. Self-regulating ICT networks are one example of a new type of governance that is growing in importance as a result of globalization. This paper focuses on electronic commerce as a form of commercial activity mediated by ICT networks. In recent decades, national governments have used direct regulation, co-regulation and self-regulation in response to the growth of a global information infrastructure and electronic commerce. This paper considers three case studies: electronic signature laws as a form of direct regulation; the Single Euro Payment Area as a form of co-regulation, and the Payment Card Industry Data Security Standard as a form of self-regulation. These case studies suggest that electronic commerce law in global markets is based on a form of legal pluralism that is reminiscent in some ways of the traditional law merchant, and that if its role in regulating commercial transactions is more clearly recognized, that may aid national regulators in retaining their authority over their domestic markets. 

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