Category Archives: Internet Intermediaries Liability In India

E-Commerce Regulations And Laws In India

Electronic commerce is an area whose legal formalities cannot be taken lightly. Electronic commerce involves multiple jurisdictions and at times multiple laws of different countries are applicable to a single electronic commerce website.

Further, the landscape for electronic commerce dispute resolution in India is also fast changing. With more and more stress upon online disputes resolution (ODR) in India electronic commerce disputants now prefer ODR as a mechanism for dispute resolution. Corporate disputes resolution through ODR in India is also being explored. E-courts and ODR have also added their own valued to electronic commerce and corporate dispute resolutions in India.

Electronic commerce in India is witnessing a good growth due to progressive policies and liberal foreign direct investments (FDIs). E-commerce uses information and communication technology (ICT) to operate. Although many technological aspects are also taken care of by an e-commerce platform, yet establishment and running of an e-commerce website is the most important requirement.

Internet is boundary less and a website hosted in a particular country can be accessed from any part of the world. Further, there may be cases where a websites located in a particular country may attract legal jurisdictions of multiple countries. Thus, compliance with the laws of the principal country as well as those countries where such e-commerce websites targets audience and customers is of prime importance.

There have been instances where e-commerce websites located in India failed to observe cyber law due diligence in India and e-commerce regulations and laws in India. Criminal trials and criminal liabilities have been imposed by Indian legal system upon such websites. The bazee.com case and the criminal and civil trials against companies like Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft, etc are few examples of the same. Such cases against e-commerce websites and foreign companies would further increase and e-commerce players must appoint nodal officers in India to comply with Indian laws.

Thus, not only legal requirements for undertaking e-commerce in India are stringent but even Internet intermediaries liability in India must be taken seriously by companies engaged in online transactions and businesses. We have no dedicated e-commerce laws in India but the information technology act 2000 (IT Act 2000) covers basic level e-commerce legal framework in India. The IT Act 2000 also prescribes cyber due diligence for foreign websites in India.

E-commerce due diligence in India is a much needed requirement that all e-commerce players, whether Indians or foreign, must undertake as soon as possible. Non observation of local and foreign laws can tarnish the image and brand of a company that cannot be regained again. It is better to err on the side of precaution rather than caught on the wrong side of the law.

Google And Facebook To Remove Offending Contents Within 15 Days

Companies like Google, Facebook, etc are facing civil and criminal trials in India. In fact, representative of these companies have been asked to personally appear before a criminal court on 13th March 2012. Today a civil court has given 15 more days to companies like Google, Facebook, etc remove objectionable contents form their websites.

The entire issue revolves around Internet intermediaries’ liability in India. Companies like Google, Facebook, etc are Internet intermediaries as per the provisions of Information Technology Act 2000 (IT Act 2000). The IT Act 2000 is the cyber law of India that covers dealings of these companies in cyberspace. If these companies fails to ensure cyber law due diligence in India, they are liable to be prosecuted in India.

Cyber due diligence for companies in India has been ignored for long. However, companies and individuals are now facing legal challenges for ignoring the same. There are certain simple procedures that can be adopted to ensure compliance with Indian laws.

For instance, foreign companies and websites must appoint nodal officers to comply with Indian laws. Similarly, these companies and websites must also formulate an India specific legal strategy to tackle cyber law and intellectual property violation issues more properly.

Perry4Law and Perry4Law Techno Legal Base (PTLB) believe that these companies must ensure compliance with Indian laws in true letter and spirit. The Information Technology (Intermediaries Guidelines) Rules, 2011 of India must be specially taken care of by all Internet intermediaries of India.

Companies like Twitter and Google have already taken initiatives to comply with Indian laws. Twitter has put in place a country specific mechanism to remove offending tweets. Google has also started redirecting Indian bloggers to ***.blogspot.in domains instead of ***.blogspot.com domain. This method would allow Google to remove offending contents pertaining to ***.blogspot.in alone once a valid legal request is made from Indian government or individuals residing in India.

Presently, civil and criminal cases are pending against companies like Google, Facebook, etc before various courts in New Delhi. Before the Delhi High Court, the respondent/complainant of the criminal complaint has placed it final arguments on 02-02-2012 and the petitioner companies would put its final arguments on 14-02-2012.

The civil court of New Delhi would analyse the compliance report of Google, Facebook, etc on 01-03-2012. The 22 firms involved in the case have to submit in writing that they have deleted the content before the next hearing. The criminal trial’s hearing is scheduled on 13th March 2012 where representatives of foreign companies have to be personally present. It seems foreign companies would have a busy month ahead.

Google And Facebook Must Comply With Indian Laws

Companies like Google, Facebook, etc are facing criminal trial in India. With the passage of time, more and more legal arsenal is now becoming available for Indian courts to hold these companies liable for violation of Indian laws. In fact, hints are now given that these companies are deliberately ignoring and violating Indian laws like copyright law, trademarks law and cyber law of India of