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HomeNew regulations govern UK web hosts, ISP's:
 Legal info:
 Web traders should take sensible legal protective steps:
If you have a business website, whether trading or non-trading you need: website terms and conditions (T&Cs) governing your legal relationship with users of your site otherwise: you have little protection if sued
. If you link to other sites or provide other information on which users might rely you need: a disclaimer in your website T&C's, otherwise: you have missed the chance to exclude or limit your liability.

 If you are concerned if someone copies your content you need: a copyright notice and to address intellectual property in the website T&Cs otherwise: your position is weaker if you have to sue infringers.

 If your website is inaccessible to the disabled you need: to comply with appropriate design guidelines otherwise: you could be ordered to do so and to pay compensation under the Disability Discrimination Act

 If you collect personal data (e.g. email addresses) via your website you need: to register, have a privacy policy and comply with the Data Protection Act otherwise: data may be unsaleable and you may be the subject of enforcement action

 If your website includes discussion groups or bulletin boards you need: appropriate disclaimers otherwise: you are at greater risk of being sued for libel

 If you sell online, whether B2B or B2C you need: trading T&Cs (not the same as website T&Cs) otherwise: you have no control over your legal relationship with customers (e.g. as to the point when a binding contract exists – remember the Argos £2.99 TVs)

 And: to comply with new e-commerce regulations - provide certain information and take steps e.g. availability of T&Cs, correct ability of input errors, acknowledgment of orders otherwise: customers can cancel contracts and you can be sued for compensation

 If you have website or trading T&Cs on your website you need: to make them sufficiently accessible otherwise: they are worthless

 If you sell to consumers you need: to comply with Distance Selling Regulations (amongst other things) otherwise: customers have 3 month rather than 7 day cooling off period

 If you sell abroad you need: to take appropriate (and different) precautions re B2B and B2C customers otherwise: you are at greater risk of being dragged into court in a distant country.

The Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002

 The regulations, part of the Electronic Commerce (EC Directive) Regulations 2002, address several issues surrounding Web hosting in the UK, including site content and tax regulations. They were published by the government, a little less than two weeks before they became law. The directive is based on the European Union E-Commerce Directive.

 The overall aim of the EU’s directive is to break down potential legal barriers against e-commerce use across Europe by declaring the responsibilities and rights of both businesses and consumers. The regulations were also designed to promote the free flow of information across Europe, and to protect companies that operate networks where it is impossible to track all the information being exchanged between servers and users.
 In the United Kingdom, where the regulations were slightly altered before becoming law, Web hosting firms and ISPs are now responsible for ensuring a number of conditions are regularly enforced. One of the most significant obligations for UK Web sites surrounds the UK Value Added Tax, or VAT for short. As of August 21, Web sites hosted in the UK that sell goods or services are required to include an e-mail address, geographical address and VAT number where necessary. What’s more, any prices listed on a Web site hosted in the UK must now clearly indicate whether they include both VAT and delivery costs.
 Web sites must also acknowledge the receipt of any orders placed online without delay. "A service provider shall acknowledge receipt of the order to the recipient of the service without undue delay and by electronic means," regulation 11(1)(a) states, and "make available to the recipient of the service appropriate, effective and accessible technical means allowing him to identify and correct input errors prior to the placing of the order," according to section 11(1)(b).
 The directive also aims to remove some of the ambiguities surrounding the removal of third-party content, declaring the onus will be on law enforcement authorities to prove that a service provider was aware of the content before being held liable. According to the directive, service providers act as a “mere conduit” for the transfer of information so long as specific conditions are met. The full text of the EC Directive is available at


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