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eCommerce & Onlineshops - Internetrecht

A mouse-click is all it takes to conclude a contract.

In the mid-1990s, the first online shops opened in Germany on the Internet; today, shopping on the Internet is indispensable for many consumers, manufacturers, and distributors. Small retailers and niche companies, in particular, benefit from the accessible sales opportunities provided by the Internet. Consumers also take advantage of virtual shopping with price comparisons, evaluation portals, and convenient ordering.

From a legal point of view, the buyer sends a declaration of intent to enter into a contract via the World Wide Web. This declaration is usually sent via an interactive interface, but can also be initiated by placing an order via e-mail.

Scams through digital anonymity

To avoid fake orders, most online shop providers protect themselves by using registration procedures, in which customers have to sign up and send a return confirmation by e-mail. This "multiple opt-in" method is intended to ensure that the customer exists. Nevertheless, the anonymity of the Internet still opens up numerous opportunities for both buyers and sellers to cheat.

Trade without borders versus national legal regulations

The World Wide Web's internationality also causes legal problems. In the case of legally relevant infringements, different legal systems, jurisdictions, and interpretations can interfere. In the European Union, a series of Community regulations and directives (e.g., on consumer protection or e-commerce) govern the Common Market. Numerous laws exist touching e-commerce, including the critical EU directive on electronic commerce of 2000.

Internet law as a cross-section issue

Internet law includes provisions from a wide variety of legal areas: from civil law, for example, rules on the conclusion of contracts, copyright law, and intellectual property rights through to data protection. In criminal law, when it comes to the protection of minors, offenses of defamation, fraud, file sharing, and download piracy, or even organized crime. From public law on network access or telecommunications issues. Moreover, from media law regarding the content of online services such as online news portals.

Expert advice

Due to the complexity of the topic, it is recommendable to get the advice of an expert. Whether you have problems with a buyer or competitor on the Internet, if you plan to open your online shop, if you want to make your company homepage legally protected or you are looking for a rock-solid solution for privacy protection on the Internet - ask us, we will be happy to advise you quickly!

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Dr. Metzner Rechtsanwälte

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