This is the “anchor” project for the theme “Legal Frameworks for Electronic Business and the Information Society”. The development of a legal framework to foster e-commerce in Europe has long been regarded as the holy grail for future European prosperity, yet following the bursting of the dot.com bubble it is even more uncertain both in the EU and the US what regulation is now appropriate. The Electronic Commerce Directive due to be implemented by January 2002 is the first major legislative measure enacted by the EU intended to address the e-commerce phenomenon as a whole, previous European legislation having either impacted on the Internet without being specifically designed for it (e.g. the Distance Selling Directive; the Data Protection Directive), or addressing only one small sector of law (e.g. the E-Money Directives). The E-Commerce Directive by contrast covers a wide variety of topics including the principle of country of origin regulation, regulation of “information society services”, commercial communications and unsolicited junk email, electronic contracting, liability of ISPs (Internet service providers) and alternative dispute resolution.

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