Information society services and e-commerce

The following Commercial practice note provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Information society services and e-commerce
  • EU case law before and after Brexit
  • Scope of the E-Commerce Regulations 2002
  • What are information society services?
  • Activities that are information society services
  • Activities that are not information society services
  • Intermediation services
  • Practical approach to meaning of ‘information society services’
  • Other key definitions
  • General exclusions
  • More...

Information society services and e-commerce

This Practice Note describes the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002 (E-Commerce Regulations 2002), SI 2002/2013 as they apply to businesses operating in the UK, including key definitions, obligations and statutory defences. The E-Commerce Regulations 2002 gave effect in the UK to Directive 2000/31/EC (OJ L 178/1), the EU E-Commerce Directive. Following the end of the Brexit implementation period (being 11 pm on 31 December 2020), the E-Commerce Regulations 2002 became part of the body of EU retained law applicable in the UK, as amended by the Electronic Commerce (Amendment etc) (EU Exit) Regulations 2019, SI 2019/87.

UK businesses that are information society services providers (ISSPs) are subject to the provisions of the E-Commerce Regulations 2002 in respect of information society services provided in the UK, but have to comply with the EU E-Commerce Directive (and any applicable local laws in relevant EEA countries) if they provide such services within the EEA.

The UK government has published the ‘E-Commerce Directive and the UK’ guidance, which contains guidance for UK and EEA-based ISSPs on what businesses need to know now that the EU E-Commerce Directive no longer applies in the UK. The guidance states that:

  1. the EU E-Commerce Directive allows EEA online service providers to operate in any EEA country, while only following relevant rules in the country in which they are established. This framework no longer applies to

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