Electronic commerce refers to the buying, selling and marketing of goods and services over the internet, typically via a website, web app or an online marketplace such as Amazon or eBay. The world of electronic commerce has witnessed enormous growth in recent years and is here to stay. It is crucial that you and your business stay ahead of the curve on emerging and developing e-commerce legal issues.
The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 is the federal statute regulating unsolicited commercial email (UCE). The CAN-SPAM Act covers any commercial email for which the purpose is advertisement or promotion, and not just bulk messaging. Each email that violates the CAN-SPAM Act may be subjected to a separate monetary penalty, so it can be very costly to fail to comply with the law. As a business, there are some rules you can follow to stay on the right side of the law. These include not using false or misleading information in headers, not using deceptive subject lines, identifying your messages as advertisements, informing recipients where you are located, advising recipients how to opt-out of receiving future emails, and complying with opt-out requests in a timely manner. However, the CAN-SPAM Act is not the only concern for email marketers and advertisers, as the California Anti-SPAM statute is increasingly being used to target email initiators and advertisers. (Read More.)
Social Network Law
A social network service is an online service, platform or website that specializes in building social networks and relations among people who share friends, connections, backgrounds, interests and hobbies. Social network sites allow users to share photos, interests, activities, events and comments within their individual networks, but the disclosure and dissemination of such material often leads to unanticipated problems that can be challenging to resolve. The law in this area is in constant flux and in many areas unsettled, although there has been rapid advancement and recent legislation that directly relate to this area. (Read More.)
Cybersquatting occurs when an individual or entity deliberately and in bad faith registers a domain name containing a trademark they have no rights to. If somebody registers a domain that uses your trademark (or something that is confusingly similar to your trademark) with the intention of selling it to you for profit or using your business reputation to make themselves money, you have been the victim of cybersquatting. Specific motives of cybersquatters may include extorting payment from the trademark owner, collecting multiple domain names to sell to the true trademark owner, diverting website visitors to other sites, diverting consumers to a competitor’s website and defrauding consumers.
If a court determines an alleged cybersquatter has violated the law, it may order him or her to forfeit the domain and transfer it to you – the rightful trademark owner. It is important to ensure your rights are protected against such cybersquatters by taking immediate action and using the appropriate legal tools and remedies to secure your rights. (Read More.)
Jurisdiction and Choice of Law
Many people think that there is no way to sue somebody whose business is based in another state or country. In fact, internet businesses have been called into the courts of many states as well as countries all over the world. This raises the topic of “conflict of laws,” which is used to determine where lawsuits will be heard and which laws will be applied. The issues to be determined in a domestic conflict of laws case are jurisdiction (which court will hear the case), choice of law (which laws will be applied) and enforcement of sister state judgment (which refers to one state court enforcing another state court’s judgment). In the international context, the issues to be determined are jurisdiction to adjudicate (a nation’s authority to subject foreigners to its jurisdiction), jurisdiction to prescribe (a nation’s authority to apply its laws to foreigners) and jurisdiction to enforce (a nation’s ability to enforce its judgment against a foreign defendant). These are complex issues that require the knowledge and guidance of legal counsel with cross-state and cross-border media experience.