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Getting The Deal Through


Published: August 2019


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  • 1.

    Government approach
    How can the government’s attitude and approach to internet issues best be described?

  • 2.

    What legislation governs business on the internet?

  • 3.

    Regulatory bodies
    Which regulatory bodies are responsible for the regulation of e-commerce, data protection and internet access tariffs and charges?

  • 4.

    What tests or rules are applied by the courts to determine the jurisdiction for internet-related transactions or disputes in cases where the defendant is resident or provides goods or services from outside the jurisdiction?

  • 5.

    Establishing a business
    What regulatory and procedural requirements govern the establishment of digital businesses in your jurisdiction? To what extent do these requirements and procedures differ from those governing the establishment of brick-and-mortar businesses?

  • 6.

    Contract formation
    Is it possible to form and conclude contracts electronically? If so, how are contracts formed on the internet? Explain whether ‘click wrap’ contracts are enforceable, and if so, what requirements need to be met?

  • 7.

    Applicable laws
    Are there any particular laws that govern contracting on the internet? Do these distinguish between business-to-consumer and business-to-business contracts?

  • 8.

    Electronic signatures
    How does the law recognise or define digital or e-signatures?

  • 9.

    Data retention
    Are there any data retention or software legacy requirements in relation to the formation of electronic contracts?

  • 10.

    Are any special remedies available for the breach of electronic contracts?

  • 11.

    Security measures
    What measures must be taken by companies or ISPs to guarantee the security of internet transactions? Is encryption mandatory?

  • 12.

    Government intervention and certification authorities
    As regards encrypted communications, can any authorities require private keys to be made available? Are certification authorities permitted? Are they regulated and are there any laws as to their liability?

  • 13.

    Electronic payments
    Are there any rules, restrictions or other relevant considerations regarding the use of electronic payment systems in your jurisdiction?

  • 14.

    Are there any rules or restrictions on the use of digital currencies?

  • 15.

    Registration procedures
    What procedures are in place to regulate the licensing of domain names? Is it possible to register a country-specific domain name without being a resident in the country?

  • 16.

    Do domain names confer any additional rights beyond the rights that naturally vest in the domain name?

  • 17.

    Trademark ownership
    Will ownership of a trademark assist in challenging a ‘pirate’ registration of a similar domain name?

  • 18.

    Dispute resolution
    How are domain name disputes resolved in your jurisdiction?

  • 19.

    What rules govern advertising on the internet?

  • 20.

    How is online advertising defined? Could online editorial content be caught by the rules governing advertising?

  • 21.

    Misleading advertising
    Are there rules against misleading online advertising?

  • 22.

    Are there any products or services that may not be advertised on the internet?

  • 23.

    Hosting liability
    What is the liability of content providers and parties that merely host the content, such as ISPs? Can any other parties be liable?

  • 24.

    Is the advertising or selling of financial services products to consumers or to businesses via the internet regulated, and, if so, by whom and how?

  • 25.

    ISP liability
    Are ISPs liable for content displayed on their sites? How can ISPs limit or exclude liability?

  • 26.

    Shutdown and takedown
    Can an ISP shut down a web page containing defamatory material without court authorisation?

  • 27.

    Third-party links, content and licences
    Can a website owner link to third-party websites without permission?

  • 28.

    Can a website owner use third-party content on its website without permission from the third-party content provider? Could the potential consequences be civil in nature as well as criminal or regulatory?

  • 29.

    Can a website owner exploit the software used for a website by licensing the software to third parties?

  • 30.

    Are any liabilities incurred by links to third-party websites?

  • 31.

    Video content
    Is video content online regulated in the same way as TV content or is there a separate regime?

  • 32.

    IP rights enforcement and remedies
    Do authorities have the power to carry out dawn raids and issue freezing injunctions in connection with IP infringement?

  • 33.

    What civil remedies are available to IP owners? Do they include search orders and freezing injunctions?

  • 34.

    Definition of ‘personal data’
    How does the law in your jurisdiction define ‘personal data’?

  • 35.

    Registration requirements
    Do parties involved in the processing of personal data, such as website owners, have to register with any regulator to process personal data?

  • 36.

    Cross-border issues
    Could data protection laws and regulatory powers apply to organisations or individuals resident outside of the jurisdiction?

  • 37.

    Customer consent
    Is personal data processed on the basis of customer consent or other grounds? What is the commonly adopted mechanism for obtaining customer consent or establishing the other grounds for processing?

  • 38.

    Sale of data to third parties
    May a party involved in the processing of personal data, such as a website provider, sell personal data to third parties, such as personal data about website users?

  • 39.

    Customer profiling
    If a website owner is intending to profile its customer base to carry out targeted advertising on its website or other websites visited by its customers, is this regulated in your jurisdiction?

  • 40.

    Data breach and cybersecurity
    Does your jurisdiction have data breach notification or other cybersecurity laws specific to e-commerce?

  • 41.

    What precautionary measures should be taken to avoid data breaches and ensure cybersecurity?

  • 42.

    Is cybersecurity insurance available and commonly purchased?

  • 43.

    Right to be forgotten
    Does your jurisdiction recognise or regulate the ‘right to be forgotten’?

  • 44.

    Email marketing
    What regulations and guidance are there for email and other distance marketing?

  • 45.

    Consumer rights
    What rights and remedies do individuals have in relation to the processing of their personal data? Are these rights limited to citizens or do they extend to foreign individuals?

  • 46.

    Online sales
    Is the sale of online products subject to taxation?

  • 47.

    Server placement
    What tax liabilities ensue from placing servers outside operators’ home jurisdictions? Does the placing of servers within a jurisdiction by a company incorporated outside the jurisdiction expose that company to local taxes?

  • 48.

    Company registration
    When and where should companies register for VAT or other sales taxes? How are domestic internet sales taxed?

  • 49.

    If an offshore company is used to supply goods over the internet, how will returns be treated for tax purposes? What transfer-pricing problems might arise from customers returning goods to an onshore retail outlet of an offshore company set up to supply the goods?

  • 50.

    Is it permissible to operate an online betting or gaming business from the jurisdiction?

  • 51.

    Are residents permitted to use online casinos and betting websites? Is any regulatory consent or age, credit or other verification required?

  • 52.

    Key legal and tax issues
    What are the key legal and tax issues relevant in considering the provision of services on an outsourced basis?

  • 53.

    Employee rights
    What are the rights of employees who previously carried out services that have been outsourced? Is there any right to consultation or compensation, and do the rules apply to all employees within the jurisdiction?

  • 54.

    Content liability
    When would a website provider be liable for mistakes in information that it provides online? Can it avoid liability? Is it required or advised to post any notices in this regard?

  • 55.

    If a website provider includes databases on its site, can it stop other people from using or reproducing data from those databases?

  • 56.

    Are there any specialist courts or other venues in your jurisdiction that deal with online/digital issues and disputes?

  • 57.

    What alternative dispute resolution (ADR) methods are available for online/digital disputes? How common is ADR for online/digital disputes in your jurisdiction?

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Founded in 1993, Zhong Lun is one of the largest law firms providing a complete spectrum of legal services in China. Zhong Lun, with over 250 partners and close to 1800 professionals working in fifteen offices in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Guangzhou, Wuhan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Tokyo, Hong Kong, London, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco is capable of providing our clients with high-quality legal services across a wide range of fields by virtue of appropriate specialization and close teamwork.

View more information about Zhong Lun Law Firm

28, 31, 33, 36 and 37/F, SK Tower
6A Jianguomenwai Avenue
Chaoyang District
T: +86 10 5957 2288
F: +86 10 6568 1022


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