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E- Commerce


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Three tier architecture
Client / Server Middleware Seller Buyer

All traditional laws of commerce apply. Broadly classified into B2B B2C
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Areas of Legal Interest In E-Commerce

Intellectual Property
Copyright Trademarks Domain Names


Internet Advertising


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Intellectual Property
Definition: Results of the creative process, such as ideas, the expression of ideas, formulas, schemes, trademarks, and the like; also refers to the protection attached to ideas through patent, copyright, trademark, industrial design, and other similar laws.

For E-Commerce,
Copyrights Trademarks Domain names

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The Copyright Act of Canada
Passed in 1921 Ammended in 1988, and 1991

Copyright Modernization Act

Passed on June 29, 2012 receiving Royal Assent. Provides stronger provisions to protect the rights of creators while legalizing a number of common activities for users (for non-commercial purposes only).

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Now Users Can

include copyrighted material in their own original work as long as it is not for commercial gain and does not affect the artists reputation or market.

may include copyrighted content in their own products and activities if it pertains to areas of education, satire, or parody.

can make back-up copies of material as long as they are not protected by a digital lock or part of an on-demand service.

are prohibited from breaking digital locks, the technological measures that copyright holders have implemented to prevent users from copying the material.

Service providers are prohibited from offering services over the internet that will assist in the violation of copyright laws. Ex: P2P file sharing activities.

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Do you have the right to use or copy all the materials (including text and images) on your website? You should realize that most material available through the Internet is copyright protected. This includes emails and downloaded material.

Have you obtained permission for the use of any copyright material (including information found on the Web)?

Do your Internet-related agreements (e.g. agreements with web hosting service, web developers, website use agreements) outline the permitted and prohibited use of the website content? Do they include procedures for responding to claims of copyright infringement and other misconduct?

Have you checked whether your web developer has copyright over the material (information and images)? If you want to own the copyright to the work contained on your website, you will need to have a written agreement that transfers the copyrights to you.

If you are a copyright owner, have you registered your copyright? Have you included copyright notices in your materials?

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Goodman School Of Business | Brock University

Trade marks Act R.S.C. 1985

Passing Off.



Rights of use.

Defines a trademark.

Content can infringe on trademark rights Can infringe across several jurisdictions while being within legal boudaries at home country. Meta tags and links to other site may lead to infringement.

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Conduct a thorough web search for trademark you intend to use before registering. Search the web for unauthorized use of your own trademark. Register the domain name as a trade mark (additional support for claims in case of a dispute). Register in as many common domains as possible (.com, .ca, .org, .net, etc.) Declare trademark use rights on the website and the website use agreement. Use other trade-marks only after being authorized by a trademark license.

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Addresses of websites on the internet. They can include key trademarks and can be valuable. Registration and use subject to trademark laws.

Should not include the name of other company or product. May wish to buy more than one domain to ensure brand protection and attract customers. Registration of a .ca domain is possible only through an accredited registrar. Ex The Canadian Internet Registration Authority www.cira.ca Internic.ca www.InterNIC.ca ICANN www.icann.org

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An e-commerce business is subject to any and all jurisdictions within which it chooses to conduct its trade. Rules for contract vary from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. Special rules may exist in certain jurisdictions for online contracts.

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Contractual disputes
Disputes between the enterprise and the Internet Service Provider (ISP) or web-hosting services provider, including disagreements over interruptions in service, breach in data security etc. Business-to-business (B2B) disputes between the enterprise and its suppliers such as non-performance of contractual obligations, misrepresentations, and complaints from customers regarding services provided by suppliers. Business-to-consumer (B2C) disputes between the enterprise and its customers such as non-payment for goods or services, non-performance of contractual obligations, poor performance of contract, misrepresentations, breach of the privacy policy, and breach of security of confidential information. It is between the enterprise and its customers that lies the greatest possible scope for disputes.

Non-contractual disputes
Copyright - The enterprise might be liable for copyright infringement if it uses copyrighted material in excess of fair use, and without permission. Data protection - The enterprise may be liable for sharing or revealing confidential data on customers, as discussed in the segment on Privacy. Right of free expression - The enterprise may be subject to defamation suits for defamatory material posted online. Competition law, Domain name disputes - The enterprise may be subject to trademark infringement suits if it infringes a registered or otherwise legally recognized trademark. If the enterprise has registered a domain name which corresponds to a registered or common law trademark, it may be subject to a complaint under ICANN's Uniform Domain Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP), or the U.S. federal Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act).

Goodman School Of Business | Brock University


Goodman School Of Business | Brock University


Does the website define the geographical area of the sales territory.

Legal awareness of the jurisdiction(s) intended to operate within.

Obtain appropriate accounting, tax, and legal advice.

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Internet Advertising
Governed by provisions of Criminal Code, and Competition Act, in addition to provincial laws for consumer protection and business legislation in Canada. Subject to other jurisdictional legislations in e-commerce.

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New Anti-Spamming Legislation passed in December 2010, enforceable in the near future.

A business must obtain consent from In the message, the a customer before All messages sent to False representation The collection of sending commercial sender must identify recipients must have or misrepresentation electronic addresses themselves or the electronic messages an unsubscribe is prohibited in the through computer to them. This agency on whose function that takes online promotions of programs is includes messages to behalf they are effect immediately. products or services. prohibited. their email, social sending the message. media accounts, and cell phone.

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Good Internet Advertising Practices

View your online advertisements from the viewpoint of an average consumer. Does the consumer have enough information to make an informed choice? Is the information clear? Is the information easy to find? When using disclosures, make sure they are clear and easy to find. (Disclosure may be required to prevent an ad from being misleading and to ensure that consumers receive sufficient information e.g. about the terms of the transaction). You should also display disclosures prior to purchase.

When using disclaimers, make sure they are clear and easy to find.

Clearly identify the business associated with the product or service being advertised. The advertisements should not mislead consumers as to the type of organization or as to the purpose of the representations. The geographic origin of the advertiser should be clear.


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