April 1, 2022
From the standpoint of enhancing predictability for markets involving electronic commerce and trading of information property, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry (METI) periodically revises the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading, the first version of which was issued in 2002, by reorganizing the interpretations of the Civil Code and other relevant laws.
METI hereby releases the latest guidelines which were revised in line with new laws, regulations, and revisions that went into effect since the last revision, which was put into effect in August 2020 (this covers items put into effect by April 1, 2022).
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 toward 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, and other related activities (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, trends in related technologies, and the development of international and internal rules surrounding electronic commerce and information property trading, based on discussions by the Working Group on Rule Establishment for the Business Utilizing IT under the Information Economy Subcommittee of the Commerce, Distribution and Information Committee of the Industrial Structure Council and working groups for drafting revisions. In this context, METI has revised the guidelines based on the results of deliberation by these experts.*
2. Details of the revision
The following points have been revised as necessary in line with the new laws, regulations, and revisions that came into effect since the last revision (August, 2020) (this covers everything put into effect by April 1, 2022). Regarding this revision, a public call for comments was not made before this publication for several reasons, mainly because they are the minimal responses in accordance with the new laws, regulations, and revisions.
I-7: Responsibilities of app market operators (reflecting the Act on Improving Transparency and Fairness of Digital Platforms (TFDPA))
A note has been added regarding legal responsibility in light of the Act on Improving the Transparency and Fairness of Digital Platforms established on May 27, 2020 and put into effect on February 1, 2021.
II-3 Provision of P2P file sharing software
II-7 Provision of IDs, passwords, and other private information on the Internet
II-9-3 Reproduction of copyrighted works
III-8 Assertion by users against assignees of the users’ intellectual property rights
III-12-1 Regarding legal issues in the provision of digital content over the Internet and related actions
With regard to the six items above, the "Act to Revise Part of the Copyright Act and the Special Provisions on the Registration of Works of Computer Programming" was put into effect on June 5, 2020 after the previous revision, therefore remaining consistent with the enactment of this revision.
III-14 Transfer of value using block chain technology (reflecting court cases)
In addition to changing the term "virtual currency" to "cryptoassets," a court case ruling that it is legal to request a contract-based procedure to transfer rights using a Bitcoin electronic information processing system has been added.
Other necessary revisions have been made, e.g., updates of information on reference guidelines and additional court cases.
3. Call for public comments for future revisionMETI will revise the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading as needed to address changes in trading practices, technical trends, progress in the development of international rules and other matters. METI will call for public comments for future revision of the guidelines as necessary.
Please send your comment to:
Digital Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau, METI
Address: 1-3-1 Kasumigaseki, Chiyoda Ward, Tokyo (zip code: 100-8901)
Email address: email@example.com
- Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading (full text) (in Japanese)(PDF:2,554KB)
- Outline of the Interpretative Guidelines on Electronic Commerce and Information Property Trading (in Japanese)(PDF:139KB)
Division in Charge
Digital Economy Division, Commerce and Information Policy Bureau