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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 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.

  1. Revision to address changes in trade environments
    Ⅰ-2-4 Automatic-renewal clauses and Article 10 of the Consumer Contract Act (new provision)
    Ⅰ-7-7 Liability of operators of online application markets (new provision)
    Ⅰ-7-8 Employment regulations for sharing economy and second/side jobs (new provision)
    Ⅰ-8 Approaches to online prize programs
  2. Revision in line with revised laws
    • Revision in line with the Revised Consumer Contract Act
      Ⅰ-5 Returning products to online shopping stores
      Ⅰ-7-4 Effectiveness of special clause “No Claim, No Return” policy
      Ⅲ-3 Unreasonable clauses of the license agreement
    • Revision in line with the Revised Act on the Protection of Personal Information
      Ⅱ-9-4 Use of other persons’ copyright works in e-learning
      Ⅲ-11 Legal approaches to using data set
  3. Other revisions (streamlining issues, making terminology coherent, revision in line with new judicial precedents, etc.)
    Ⅰ-2-1 Incorporation of website terms of use into contract and their effectiveness (streamlining issues)
    Ⅰ-7-1 Liability of service operators involving inter-user trading (making terminology coherent)
    Ⅰ-7-6 Business regulations to service operators involving inter-user trading (reposted)
    Ⅲ-10 Liability for third parties providing a method for destroying access control of software, e.g., try-and-buy software and software with accessible period (revision in line with new judicial precedents)

3. Call for public comments for future revision

METI will revise the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading as needed to address changes in trading practices, technical trends, progress in development of international rules and other matters. METI will call for your opinions for future revision of the guidelines from time to time.

Send your comments to:

Address: 1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo (postal code 100-8901)
Division in charge: Information Service Industry Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau, METI
Facsimile: 03-3501-6639
Email: ecip-rule@meti.go.jpメールリンク

Note: When sending comments, please use the title “Comments for the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading” at the top of your facsimile or email.

Appendix

Release date

June 5, 2017

Division in Charge

Information Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau

Related website

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.