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e-commercebusiness carried out by electronic means. Now the subject of European Union legislation in the desire for a harmonized market and to ensure the free movement of ‘information society services’ across the European Community. That includes control of the ‘establishment’ of service providers; the regulation of commercial communications; electronic contracts; the liability of intermediaries; codes of conduct; out-of-court dispute settlements; court actions; cooperation between Member States. The focus of the UK implementing legislation is on a commercial communication which is a communication, in any form, designed to promote, directly or indirectly, the goods, services or image of any person pursuing a commercial, industrial or craft activity or exercising a regulated profession, other than a communication.
A person providing an information society service is obliged to make available to the recipient of that service certain information. A service provider is under a duty to ensure that any commercial communications constituting or forming part of an information society service which he provides complies with certain requirements. A service provider is under a duty to ensure that any unsolicited commercial communication sent by him is clearly and unambiguously identifiable as such as soon as it is received and to provide certain information where contracts are concluded by electronic means unless parties who are not consumers have agreed otherwise. More practical substance appears in relation to DISTANCE SELLING. Special provisions have been made to facilitate certain aspects of e-commerce, see e.g. CONDUIT, CACHING, HOSTING.