Legal Issues in E-commerce / M-commerce

  • E-commerce as well as M-commerce presents a world of opportunity for doing businesses, reaching global markets and providing facility of online purchasing. 
  • It provides opportunities to improve the business processes.
  • However, just as any new business has some issues and risks so does E-commerce and M-commerce.
  • Both of these pose many legal challenges, as it is the activity performed on global Internet without national boundaries.
  • Every nation has its own rules and regulations.
  • The major challenges are related to the intellectual property rights, copyrights, privacy and many times the disputes among the parties.
  • The legal framework is necessary to resolve these issues.
  • Many countries have already established their legal framework for electronic commerce.
  • Indian Government has also established the IT laws (Information Technology Laws) under the IT act.
  • Enforcement of legal rules and regulations provides confidence to the customers that their personal information remains secret and will not be misused.
  • If it is misused, responsible party can be punished.
  • This type of security is a must in E-commerce and M-commerce as customers provide their sensitive information like credit card details.
  • Companies making online business are getting legal support in case of misuse of their logos or any copyright materials like digital content.
  • Any dispute between two parties can be resolved under these laws.

Securing Intellectual Property
The intellectual property includes books, software’s, music, video, copyrights, trademarks and web pages. Some of them are explained below:


  • Copyright provides the author with a tool to protect his / her original work from being used or taken by others without permission.
  • It is applicable to books, software programs and articles.
  • Copyright law protects intellectual property in its various forms, and cannot be used freely.
  • It is difficult to protect Intellectual Property in E-commerce or M-commerce.
  • For example, if one buys software, one has the right to use it and not the right to distribute it.
  • The distribution rights are with the copyright holder.
  • Also, most of the web pages are protected by copyright.
  • In that case, copying contents from that website also violates copyright laws.


  • It is a specific logo, mark, word, symbol, design, phrase or image which is used by an individual or a company to distinguish a product or service from that of others in the market.
  • A trademark may be designed by the following symbols: TM, SM and ®.

Domain name disputes

  • The competition over domain names is another legal issue.
  • Earlier, the domain names were given on first come first basis.
  • Thus people would register domain names that were not in use but would be of importance.
  • Later on, such domain names were sold to concerned company at a very high price.
  • This is known as cyber squatting.
  • Another problem is Name changing where someone registers purposely misspelled variations of well known domain names.
  • This can mislead the consumers who generally make typographical errors while entering a URL.

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