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9. Electronic commerce

9.1. OECD - Conference in Turku

At the end of November OECD organised a policy making conference entitled "Dismantling the Barriers to Global Electronic Commerce" in the Finnish town of Turku. ( http://192.215.107.71/wire/news/1997/11/1118finland.html )

The conference in Finland was part of a process expected to culminate in a full ministerial meeting in Ottawa, Canada, in October 1998. Discussions took place between government representatives, industry players, service providers, experts and industry analysts on several aspects of electronic commerce including taxation, standards, on-line business and security.

Conference Web site : http://www.oecd.org/dsti/iccp/e-comm/index.htm

9.2. USA - Senate Commerce Committee approves Internet Tax Freedom Act

After several months of discussions the U.S. Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee has finally approved the Internet Tax Freedom Act (draft at http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/z?c105:s.442: ). According to the Act, no State or other authority may impose, assess, or attempt to collect for five years a tax directly or indirectly on the use of the Internet or interactive computer services.

Preservation of state and local taxing authority does not apply to taxes imposed on companies or measured by net income derived from the Internet or interactive computer services. Moreover, it does not affect a State or public authority to impose a tax on sales or other transactions effected by use of the Internet or interactive computer services if this tax is the same as one generally imposed on interstate sales or transactions effected by mail order, telephone, or other remote means.

Strongly supported by the computer and telecommunications industry desirous to boom e-commerce (comments of the `Internet society' available at: http://www.isoc.org/whatsnew/senateban.html ), the Act is contested by cities and states that want to raise taxes from Internet use and services.

The draft legislation, passed by a large majority in the committee, has currently been transferred to the full Senate for debate and voting where it may face significant amendments. A similar law has been working its way through the House and last month was approved by two subcommittees.

9.3. Germany - Court issues temporary injunction against spammer

On 14th of November a German Court gave its judgement in a commercial law case involving a junk e-mail dispute. The Landgericht Traunstein imposed a temporary injunction against an advertiser illegally sending unsolicited commercial messages to a private e-mail address without the owners' consent. In German: http://www.rhrz.uni-bonn.de/~usa000/urteil.html

Commercial solicitation by Internet electronic mail without permission was found by the court to constitute an unfair commercial practice. The defendant was forbidden to engage in similar spam activities in the future, and he was warned that if he engaged in such activities he could face up to two years' imprisonment.

A list of cases on junk e-mail is available at: http://www.junkemail.org/lawsuits /


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