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Revision of the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading

From the standpoint of enhancing predictability for concerned parties, it is important to clarify how the Civil Code and other relevant laws are applied to various legal issues related to electronic commerce, including internet shopping, and information property trading.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) revised the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading, which has been issued since March 2002, based on the results of deliberation by the Working Group on Rule Establishment for the Business Utilizing IT under the Information Economy Subcommittee of the Commerce, Distribution and Information Committee, Industrial Structure Council.

1. Outline of the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading

The Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading was formulated in March 2002 with a view to enhancing predictability for concerned parties and contributing to the facilitation of trade by clarifying how the Civil Code and other relevant laws are applied to various legal issues related to electronic commerce, information property trading, etc. (the guideline was originally titled “Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce” as of March 2002).

With the cooperation of academic experts, related ministries and agencies, consumers, and the business community, METI presents an approach to the interpretation of the existing laws. METI anticipates that this approach will serve as an indicator for interpreting such laws surrounding electronic commerce and information property trading.

Since the formulation of the original guidelines in March 2002, METI has revised the guidelines as required, in accordance with situations in trade practices, technological trends, and development of international rules surrounding electrical commerce and information property trading. In this context, METI has revised the guidelines based on the results of deliberation by the Working Group on Rule Establishment for the Business Utilizing IT under the Information Economy Subcommittee of the Commerce, Distribution and Information Committee, Industrial Structure Council.

2. Details of the revision

METI amended and added the following points.

  • Mistake caused by consumer's erroneous operation (partially amended)
  • Expression of intention by a minor (partially amended)
  • Issues concerning information property trading (partially amended)
    • Digital contents (newly added)
    • Legal issues concerning provision of digital contents on the internet (newly added)
    • Use of digital contents after termination of a digital contents user agreement (newly added)
    • Obligation to redistribute electronic publications (newly added)
    • Rights for items in online games (newly added)

*Note 1: For details of the revised sections, see the reference materials.

3. Calling for public opinions aiming at the future revision of the guidelines

METI plans to make necessary revisions to the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading, in accordance with changes in trade practices, technological trends, and development of international rules. For this purpose, METI welcomes public opinions regarding the necessary revision of the guidelines. Please send such opinions to the following address at your convenience.

Address:
Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau, METI
1-3-1, Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo, 100-8901
Fax number:
03-3501-6639
E-mail address:
ecip-rule@meti.go.jpMail Link

*Note 2: Faxes should have a header saying, “Opinion regarding the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading.”

Reference materials (in Japanese)

Release Date

August 8, 2014

Division in Charge

Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau

Related Information

Information Policy

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry
1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
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