Contract Law in Electronic Commerce

Contract Law in Electronic Commerce

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Inhaltsangabe:Abstract: This paper was written during my studies at Georgia State University, Atlanta in Fall 2000 in the context of an exchange program between Georgia State University and Technische UniversitAct Darmstadt. Its subject is the new contract law in electronic commerce. The paper starts with an illustration of the situation of legal uncertainty prior to the establishment of a specific contract law in electronic commerce. Many laws governing contract formation were drafted before the existence of electronic messaging and did not adequately address the challenges of electronic transactions. Furthermore, electronic transactions were often hindered by the diversity of state laws. This situation was considered to place some severe legal obstacles to the development of electronic commerce. In 1997, President Clinton and Vice President Gore unveiled their Framework for Global Electronic Commerce. This issue defined the main goals for the future development of both domestic and global electronic commerce. The general objective was to establish a Uniform Commercial Code for this ascending sector of commerce in order to facilitate and enforce electronic transactions. The legislative efforts to achieve those goals recently resulted in two uniform acts, the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) and the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), and the federal Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-sign Act). The paper deals with these new legislative approaches. Aside from the presentation of the scopes of the different acts the paper focuses on their fundamental principles and major provisions. Furthermore, it discusses the new enactments in the context of a selection of fundamental legal issues raised by electronic commerce. This discussion finally shows that, although there have been a number of serious endeavors to achieve the above mentioned goals by drafting several electronic commerce statutes, the recent enactments relating to contract law in electronic commerce are not able to achieve the goals set out in the Framework for Global Electronic Commerce. There still remain significant legal obstacles that prohibit electronic commerce from reaching its full potential. Zusammenfassung: Diese Arbeit wurde wAchrend meines Studienaufenthaltes an der Georgia State University, Atlanta im Herbstsemester 2000 im Rahmen eines Austauschprogramms zwischen der Georgia State University und der Technischen UniversitAct Darmstadt geschrieben. Das Thema der Arbeit ist das neue Vertragsrecht in Electronic Commerce Transaktionen. Die Arbeit beginnt mit einer Schilderung der durch Rechtsunsicherheit geprAcgten Situation vor dem Vorhandensein eines speziellen E-commerce Vertragsrechtes. Viele Gesetze, die Vertragsangelegenheiten regelten, waren vor dem Beginn des elektronischen Zeitalters erstellt worden und waren aus diesem Grund den Anforderungen des elektronischen GeschAcftsverkehrs nicht gewachsen. Des weiteren existierte eine Vielzahl an kontroversen Staatsgesetzen, die das AbschlieAŸen elektronischer VertrAcge zwischen Parteien aus unterschiedlichen Staaten problematisch machte. Diese Situation stellte ein Hindernis fA¼r die Entwicklung des Electronic Commerce dar. Im Jahre 1997 verApffentlichten PrAcsident Clinton und VizeprAcsident Gore ihr Framework for Global Electronic Commerce . In diesem Dokument wurden die Hauptziele fA¼r die Entwicklung des nationalen und internationalen Electronic Commerce definiert. Die Grundidee sah die Erstellung eines Uniform Commercial Code fA¼r den elektronischen GeschAcftsverkehr vor, der elektronische Transaktionen vereinfachen und die GA¼ltigkeit von elektronischen VertrAcgen sicherstellen sollte. Die gesetzgeberischen BemA¼hungen diese Ziele umzusetzen resultierten kA¼rzlich in die Verabschiedung zweier Uniform Acts , dem Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA) und dem Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA), sowie eines Bundesgesetzes, dem Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-sign Act). Die Arbeit beleuchtet diese drei neuen Gesetze. Neben einer Abgrenzung der Anwendungsbereiche der unterschiedlichen Gesetze werden deren fundamentalen Prinzipien sowie die wichtigsten Bestimmungen dargestellt. Des weiteren werden die drei Gesetzte im Rahmen einer Auswahl bedeutender rechtlicher Problemstellungen des Electronic Commerce diskutiert. Diese Diskussion verdeutlicht, dass es dem gesetzgebenden Organen nicht gelungen ist alle im Framework for Global Electronic Commerce formulierten Ziele zu erreichen. Vielmehr existieren nach wie vor eine groAŸe Anzahl an rechtlichen Hindernissen, die den elektronischen GeschAcftsverkehr auch in Zukunft nicht sein volles Potential erreichen lassen wird. Table of Contents: AbbreviationsV 1.Thesis1 2.Introduction2 2.1Meaning of the Term Electronic Commerce 2 2.2Significance of E-Commerce for Today s Economy3 2.3Contract Law Applying to the Sales of Goods5 2.4Need for a Specific Contract Law in E-commerce8 2.5Main Objectives of this Paper11 3.Contract Formation13 3.1Manifesting Assent14 3.2Contract Formation in the Internet15 3.3Formal Requirements Statute of Frauds18 4.The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA)21 4.1History of the Drafting Process21 4.2Scope22 4.3Fundamental Principles and Major Provisions25 5.The Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act (UCITA)41 5.1History of the Drafting Process41 5.2Scope42 5.3Fundamental Principles and Major Provisions45 6.The Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act (E-sign Act)59 6.1History of the Drafting Process59 6.2Scope59 6.3Fundamental Principles and Major Provisions61 7.Existing State Laws70 8.The Fundamental Legal Issues raised by E-commerce73 8.1The Statute of Frauds and other Writing Requirements in the Context of Electronic Means of Conducting73 8.2Enforceability of Electronic Contracts79 8.3Preemption and Intersections of the Different E-commerce Laws86 8.4Security Standards and Consumer Protection in E-commerce Transactions92 8.5Applying Law in Interstate and International E-commerce102 9.Synopsis and Conclusion107 BibliographyVI Appendix A: UCITAXIII Appendix B: UETAXIV Appendix C: E-sign ActXV... sign a record, otherwise to execute or adopt an electronic symbol, sound, or process referring to, attached to, included in, or logically associated or linked with , a record or term.a€208 This definition reflects the technological neutrality of UCITA.


Title:Contract Law in Electronic Commerce
Author: Ralf Holthöfer
Publisher:diplom.de - 2001-01-30
ISBN-13:

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