Law and Regulatory Requirements Relating to Internet business retailing Introduction We have been asked to advise Alfred with regard to three claims that have been made against his company Alfsoft Ltd, which is a software development and production business, in respect of its business activities. Two of these potential claims arise from the sale of software programs through his Internet website and the third claim relates to a issue regarding the legal usage of the businesses registered domain name.
Alfredâ€™s company sells software through his Internet website. This software can either be purchased online and downloaded direct from the site, or ordered online and sent out to the consumer in the form of a DVD to the buyers home address. Brian, who lives outside of the UK, but within the EU, has purchased the software using the download option and Cassy, who resides in the UK, has purchased it using the DVD despatch method. Upon installing the software to their own machines, both Brian and Cassy have experienced virus problems as a result of loading the software onto their computers and are now claiming compensation from Alfredâ€™s company for the damage that has arisen as a result of this virus. Brianâ€™s claim is for business interruption amounting to Â£10,000 and Cassyâ€™s is claiming Â£100 cost that she incurred in have to take her computer to be repaired. Electronic Commerce Legislation To evaluate Alfredâ€™s liability relating to these claims, it is necessary to understand the legislation that covers these issues. The UK has implemented the EU directive 2000/31/EC of the European Parliament by the enactment of the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations (2002). The provisions of this act relate specifically to the performance of e-commerce and the conditions under which this should be conducted, together with the protection that is afforded to the consumer. Although this act assumes that the laws of the UK relate to a UK based e-commerce business in certain areas, it does not preclude a person from another member state from taking action according to the laws of their own state. However, in this case the person would have to request those who have jurisdiction to encourage the UK legal authorities to take action on their behalf (Office of Fair Trading 2007). In addition to this legislation, Alfredâ€™s business activities would also be conducted under the Consumer Protection (Distance Selling) Regulations 2000 (see Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) regulation 10), and the law of contract and the common law duties of negligence (Rustad and Daftary 2003, p.437). The first point in the two cases in question relates to the disclaimer. Firstly, disclaimers have to be conspicuous and without any â€œexpress or implied warrantiesâ€ and should be placed in a position that they need to be read and agreed to before a consumer commences to view or download information (Rustad and Daftary 2003, p.163). Secondly, it needs to make it clear that the web-site owner utilises the site and facilities at their own risk (Rustad and Daftary 2003,
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