The transposition of the E-commerce Directive (2000/31/EC) is moving ahead. The working group appointed by the Ministry of Justice to prepare the new legislation published its consultation paper on March 8 2001.

The working group proposed that a new law on the offering of information society services be adopted. Most of the E-commerce Directive's provisions would be included in this new act. However, the act would not include all the amendments necessitated by the E-commerce Directive. Instead, certain amendments would be adopted into Finland's existing legislation relating to consumer protection, telecommunications privacy and unfair business practices.

The consultation paper has been circulated for comments. If adopted in the proposed form, the Finnish national legislation would go further than the E-commerce Directive in its scope of application. Service providers based in Finland would be under the same information obligations irrespective of whether their services were directed inside the European Economic Area or elsewhere in the world. The legislation will also include other rules not provided for by the directive (eg, a notice and take-down procedure). The newly proposed procedure has raised some questions, as it would grant copyright a special status by allowing material alleged to infringe copyright to be taken down on the basis of, for example, a rightholder's notice. However, other infringement pleas would be handled by the courts.

The new e-commerce legislation is expected to be adopted by the Finnish Parliament this autumn and enter into force on January 16 2002.

A draft government bill concerning the implementation of the Electronic Signatures Directive (1999/93/EC) has also been circulated for comments. Should it be succesfully implemented this legislation will:

  • enhance the consumer's trust in electronic commerce;

  • increase the use of electronic services;

  • clarify the legal effects of electronic signatures;

  • clarify the liability issues relating to certification services; and

  • create a legal base for the provision of certificates to be used in the public and private sectors.

However, it is not yet known when this legislation would come into effect.

For further information on this topic please contact Eeva Hakoranta or Kati Määttä at Roschier Holmberg, Attorneys Ltd by telephone (+358 9 228 551) or by fax (+358 9 664 303) or by e-mail ([email protected] or [email protected]).

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