Jane Kaufman Winn and Michael Rhoades Pullen, Despatches from the Front: Recent Skirmishes Along the Frontiers of Electronic Contracting Law, 55 Bus. Law. 455 (1999), https://digitalcommons.law.uw.edu/faculty-articles/151
Despatches from the Front: Recent Skirmishes Along the Frontiers of Electronic Contracting Law
e-commerce, European Union
This Article will provide a short overview of the current efforts in the United States and the European Union to reform contract law to accommodate recent innovations in electronic contracting. Whether changes are needed to current contract law doctrines governing contract formation, effectiveness of contract terms, choice of law and forum provisions, special protections for consumers, and signature and writing requirements, revisions in these areas have all proved controversial. Even in those areas where a consensus may be emerging on whether law reform may be appropriate in some form, consensus is often still lacking with regard to the specific legislation needed to accomplish those reforms.
The United States is not the only major arena where such reforms are being debated. The EU is addressing the same problems, but taking a markedly different approach. If the United States and EU commit themselves to divergent approaches to the regulation of electronic contracting, major obstacles will be placed in the paths of businesses hoping to exploit global electronic markets. Businesses may then be forced to design their electronic commerce systems to conform to multiple, incompatible legal standards, or face the prospect of being shut out of major markets for electronic commerce services altogether.