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Editorial

Amendments to Electronic Commerce Act

On 17 June 2008 the Amendments to Electronic Commerce Act ("Amendments") came into force. These amendments are aimed at fully harmonizing Croatian electronic commerce regulations with the relevant EU laws.

On 17 June 2008 the Amendments to Electronic Commerce Act ("Amendments") came into force. These amendments are aimed at fully harmonizing Croatian electronic commerce regulations with the relevant EU laws. The process of harmonization was started in 2003, when the Electronic Commerce Act came into force. However, there were still certain provisions that needed to be amended in order to comply with the Directive 2000/31/EC on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market ("Directive"). By implementing these Amendments, Croatia aligned its rules with the requirements of the Directive thus fulfilling one of the benchmarks for closing of Chapter 10 of the currently undergoing accession negotiations.

The Amendments contain rules on (i) provision of information society services by the service providers seated in the European Union ("EU"), (ii) obligations of the state administrative body competent for carrying out of electronic commerce, as well as (iii) judicial protection, interim measures and alternative dispute resolution mechanisms. In this regard, the Amendments:

  • Ensure the possibility for the information society services provider, seated in the EU, to provide services in accordance with the regulations of their own country. However, certain exemptions to this possibility exist, such as those relating to transfer of real estate rights, emission of electronic money and intellectual property rights. Exemptions will also be applied to trade of medicines, medical products and homeopathic medicines, but only until 1 January 2009. This restriction is aimed at insuring the supervision of the medicines trade and prevention of misuse.
  • Expand the provision regarding the liability of the provider of hosting services. Pursuant to the Article 14, para. 1(a) of the Directive, the exclusion of the provider’s liability is extended with respect to the claims for damages where the provider of the hosting service is not aware of facts or circumstances from which the illegal activity or information is apparent.
  • Define obligations of the state administrative body competent for carrying out of electronic commerce. This body would represent a "contact point" within the Ministry of Economy, which would act as a liaison and facilitate international collaboration. It would also provide information, advice, technical support and other services related to the electronic commerce.
  • Allow for resolution of disputes arising form provision of information society services both through the court proceedings and alternative mechanisms. Court actions should ensure rapid adoption of measures, including interim measures, designated to terminate any alleged infringement. These means will also serve as protection from spam mail. In addition, recipient and the provider of service can contract for arbitration or meditation proceedings to be conducted in accordance with the relevant laws.

In addition, several other amendments of technical nature have been implemented throughout the Act.

The Amendments came into force on 17 June 2008. Only the provisions regarding state administrative body competent for carrying out of electronic commerce and rules on service providers seated within the EU will become effective upon the accession of Croatia in the EU. 

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