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Archive for ‘ulc_ecomm_list’

Electronic Communications Under Federal Law

The electronic documents part of the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA) generally operates on an opt-in basis. Thus, for example, s. 41:

A requirement under a provision of a federal law for a document to be in writing is satisfied by an electronic document if

(a) the federal law or the provision is listed in Schedule 2 or 3; and

(b) the regulations respecting the application of this section to the provision have been complied with.

To date, only the Federal Real Property and Federal Immovables Act and a small part of . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Legislation, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

Electronic Land Transactions in the United States

It has been suggested to me, at a couple of levels of hearsay, that that “the US government had to implement a provision to require the financial institutions to accept electronic signatures on agreements of purchase and sale [of land] for the purposes of financing.”

Can anyone tell me what is behind this statement? I have several questions, besides this general one:

  • had to implement’ – meaning ‘as a condition of validity’? or ‘to make some particular policy effective’?
  • ‘to require the financial institutions to accept e-signatures’ – really? Mandatory acceptance of e-signatures? *Any* e-signatures or only those with
. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

UK Defamation Act 2013 – Rules for Website Owners

The amendments to the Defamation Act passed in the UK earlier this year will come into force on January 1, 2014. There is a draft regulation on website owners’ liability for defamatory comments posted on their sites. There is quite a back-and-forth process.

Is a scheme like this a good idea for Canada? It is a kind of ‘notice and notice’ system, in which the original poster of the allegedly defamatory statements have to identify themselves (via the website operator) for litigation by the complainant, or the statements are deleted.

Here is Pinsent Mason’s description:

[Website operators have

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Remedies for Web Scraping

North American courts are not really sure what to do about web scraping, where someone uses automation to take information in bulk from a web site and puts it on his/her/its own site in competition with the original site. Sometimes (but not often) doing this is held to be trespass to chattels. More often it has been held to violate the terms of use of the victim site, even if those terms are ‘webwrap’, i.e. never explicitly consented to. (In fact, it is freakishly rare for webwrap conditions to be upheld except against scrapers).

The federal court in Illinois recently . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

May a Law Firm Read a Departed Partner’s Emails?

When a partner leaves a law firm for another practice, what should happen to his or her email account at the original firm? Should, or must, the original firm continue to read and respond to the emails? Must it forward all or some of the emails to the former partner? Should it say how that person can now be reached? Or should it simply send an automated bounce-back message that the email account is now closed?

These questions were the subject of an official ethics ruling of the Philadelphia Bar Association last month. Here is a news report on it. . . . [more]

Posted in: Practice of Law: Practice Management, ulc_ecomm_list

Will Blog Comments Support Cross-Examination?

It has been held in a US case that allegations made in comments on blog posts are not sufficiently reliable to be used in cross-examination. In this case an expert was testifying in a product liability case that the defendant’s products had never caught fire before (as the plaintiff’s had). The plaintiff’s counsel wanted to point to a number of comments in blogs about fires in some of the same manufacturer’s products. The court denied the right to use those examples.

Is that right? How much reliability do you need? Are blog comments the cross-examiner’s Wikipedia? (It was not suggested . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Asia-Pacific Regional E-Commerce Agreement

UNESCAP, the United Nations Economic Commission on the Asia-Pacific region, has been working on a regional trade agreement focusing on electronic commerce. The agreement, once made, could affect the interests of businesses in Canada and the US (and other countries in that region…).

There is a meeting in Bangkok in November to make some decisions about the document. It would be helpful for anyone who wants to influence the document to get on the record before then, in order to have a place in the conversation in the later stages.

So: I invite anyone interested to comment. Should the Canadian . . . [more]

Posted in: Miscellaneous, ulc_ecomm_list

Bitcoins and Securities Law

Some publicity has been given to a recent Texas judgment that held that Bitcoins were a form of money, and thus a scheme by which investors hoped to increase their holdings of bitcoins was subject to securities regulations.

Is there any doubt that a similar holding would be made in Canada?

It was not necessary to find that bitcoins were a form of money in order for the investment to be a security. I recall from law school days securities that promised gains from chinchillas, for example.

The holding that bitcoins were money was needed in that particular case because . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, ulc_ecomm_list

Can a Search Suggestion Be Defamatory? (Revisited)

Earlier this year I posted about a French case that held Google liable for search suggestions that pulled up defamatory senses. (Courts in other countries have also held Google liable for this; others have not.)

The highest court in France, the Cour de Cassation, has now held that Google was not liable after all. The search results were completely automated, thus not the expression of anyone’s intention, and thus not able to be the basis of an intentional illicit act like defamation.

As the court said:

la fonctionnalité aboutissant au rapprochement critiqué est le fruit d’un processus purement automatique dans

. . . [more]
Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Privacy Not Protected by Short Passwords?

The Commission nationale de l’informatique et des libertés (CNIL – the French privacy authority) has recently found a company in breach of its duty to protect the personal information of its employees because the company used unduly short passwords that were too easy to guess and that were not changed often enough. (See the story on Le Village de la Justice)

According to the CNIL, the employer should have had a password policy that required longer passwords composed of letters, numbers and special characters, and that also required that the passwords be changed frequently.

It was not demonstrated that . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Office Technology, ulc_ecomm_list

E-Signatures and Assents

Is clicking ‘OK’ on a web site the equivalent of a signature, or just an act of assenting with legal effect, e.g. to accept an offer to contract? Is there a useful or meaningful distinction any more between a signature and an act of assent (at least when the signature is intended to show assent)?

Recently an appellate court in the US found that clicking OK to a web form satisfied the requirements of the Copyright Act (US) that a transfer of copyright had to be in writing and signed by the transferor. The court relied on the Electronic Signatures . . . [more]

Posted in: Substantive Law: Foreign Law, Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list

Search Engines and the Right to Be Forgotten

Some time ago it was reported that a Spanish court had ordered Google to delete records of people’s private information on the ground that the applicable privacy laws gave them a ‘right to be forgotten’.

The Advocate General of the European Court of Justice published an opinion on this topic last month. In short, he opined that the EU Privacy Directive did not include a right to be forgotten, and that search engines did not control personal information in any event so were not subject to rules about handling personal information as ‘controllers’ under the Directive (or the national laws . . . [more]

Posted in: Technology: Internet, ulc_ecomm_list