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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 relevant laws are applied to various legal issues related to electronic commerce, including internet shopping, and trading of information property including software and digital content.

The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) revised the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading, which was issued in 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 were 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 guidelines were 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 heretofore 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 necessary, in accordance with situations in trade practices, technological trends, and the development of international rules surrounding electronic 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

The following points have been revised.

Partial revisions

  • One-click Billing and Obligation to Perform the Contract
  • Expression of Intention by a Minor
  • Responsibilities of Cybermall (On-line Shopping) Operator
  • Transactions between Users (Internet Auctions and Flea Market Services)
  • Prize Offers on the Internet
  • Legal Problems with Joint Purchase Coupon
  • Liability of Social Media Business Entities
  • Regulation under the Premiums and Representations Act
  • The Use of Copyrighted Work on the Internet
  • Thumbnail Images and Copyright
  • Legal Treatment of the Act of Using Data Sets
  • Issues Concerning Cross-Border Transactions (Adjudicative Jurisdiction and Applicable Law)

Addition of new points

  • Legal Responsibility to the Customer in the Event of Data Loss

* For details of the revised sections, see the “Outline of the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading.”

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 the 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 City, Tokyo, 100-8901
Fax number: 03-3501-6639
E-mail address: ecip-rule@meti.go.jpMail link

* Please e-mail or fax your opinion with the subject line “Opinion regarding the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading.”

For further details, see the Japanese language news release.

Release date

June 3, 2016

Division in Charge

Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau

Related Information

Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo 100-8901, Japan Tel: +81-(0)3-3501-1511
Copyright Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. All Rights Reserved.