EU Internet Law

EU Internet Law

Elgar European Law series

Andrej Savin

This timely and detailed book is a state of the art overview of Internet law in the EU, and in particular of the EU regulatory framework which applies to the Internet. At the same time it serves as a critical evaluation of the EU’s policy and governance methods and a comparative analysis, mainly contrasting American with EU solutions.

Chapter 2: Electronic commerce

Andrej Savin

Subjects: law - academic, european law, internet and technology law


Electronic commerce has a deceptively simple definition: it is the act of buying or selling goods or services by means of electronic resources. The straightforwardness of this explanation hides the complexity facing the regulator and the great economic importance of the phenomenon. Since the public rise of the Internet in the mid 1990s and through its wide penetration at the turn of the century, the lawmakers across the globe have repeatedly tried to address a host of questions relating to the conclusion of electronic contracts and its consequences. When can contracts be formed on the Internet? Is a simple exchange of emails sufficient? When does clicking on the words ‘I Agree’ on the seller’s web page bind the parties? This anxiety is a result of the Internet’s often real but sometimes only perceived borderlessness. In a transaction concluded on the Internet the parties are ‘not present’. But this does not differ from contracts concluded over other modes of communication. Sending an offer and receiving acceptance happens in much the same way over email or by clicking the ‘I Agree’ button on the web page of the supplier as it does by phone, regular mail or fax transmission. From this perspective, it may be surprising that electronic commerce ever got the attention that it did. On the other hand, the Internet brings real problems, some of which do not appear with other media. If a dispute arises, what courts will have jurisdiction? Will consumers be able to avail themselves of their local protective regime?

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information