29 July 2002

Hampus Vallien

As of 1st July 2002 a new Law on Electronic Commerce and other Information Society Services has entered into force in Sweden (Sw: Lag om elektronisk handel och andra informationssamhällets tjänster, SFS 2002:562). The new E-commerce law implements the Electronic Commerce Directive (2000/31/EC). To enable the implementation amendments have also been made as regards the Swedish Marketing Practices Act and the Swedish Consumer Credit Act.

“Information Society Services” are defined as activities with a commercial purpose, which occur on demand on-line, for example purchase of goods or services, access to the Internet or to information or search possibilities on web sites, on-line newspapers, on-line direct marketing etc. The E-commerce law applies to Information Society Services for both B2B and B2C activities.

The new law contains provisions regarding inter alia:

  1. Place of establishment, which is defined as the place where an operator actually pursues an economic activity through a fixed establishment, irrespective of where the websites or servers are situated. An operator with a place of establishment within the European Economic Area, EEA, (Sw: EES) who wish to supply services on-line is, if he complies with the requirements in his Member State, able to supply such services in all Member States within the EEA.
  2. Information requirements, which among other things state that it has to be clear who is providing the services and how to reach that person/entity. Furthermore the operator shall provide technical aids making it possible for customers to discover and correct input errors when concluding electronic contracts.
  3. Discharge from liability, which means that intermediaries who only forward or store information (in a passive role as a mere conduit) shall not be responsible, under certain circumstances, for the contents of the information forwarded or stored.

It shall be noted that the E-commerce law does not cover matters relating to inter alia copyright, electronic money and insurance. Neither does it affect compulsory law regarding real estate or consumer law, nor the parties’ freedom to agree on applicable law.

Two other new pieces of legislation are also relevant:

  1. In the Marketing Practices Act a requirement has been imposed on business operators to respect and investigate registers containing information on persons who does not want to receive e-mail advertising, i.e. an opt-out principle regarding spamming.
  2. Secondly, the amendment in the Consumer Credit Act makes it possible to enter into Consumer Credit Agreements electronically. However, such agreements have to be signed with a so-called advanced electronic signature

Important - The information in this article is provided subject to the disclaimer. The law may have changed since first publication and the reader is cautioned accordingly.