Responsibility and privacy are issues that touch on the law, though they are perhaps best characterized as aspects of common sense conduct. The political response to ecommerce, particularly its expression in regulatory and taxation policies, is a further source of potential uncertainty for the ecommerce player.
The ease of finding and copying information on the web leads many users think that the copyright is unsustainable in the wired world, though this has been a false impression. Works published on the web enjoy the same rights as other forms of publication. The world intellectual property organization (WIPO) copyright treaty and performances and Phonograms Treaty of 1996 extended the Berne convention on the copyright to include digital applications. Arguably, copyright is easier to defend online, as it is simple for a comply to run a regular search on its own content to see if it appears in unexpected place. Intellectual property unique to the ecommerce arena include domain names and business process patents
On the firmer ground of patent law, ecommerce has created something of a stir. Patents are being granted for a range of business process that are, in the opinion of many, generic ecommerce techniques. However, Jay Walker, founder of Priceline.com, who pursues intellectual property break through his walker Digital Company, believes the novel modes of commercial practice in ecommerce channels can amount to legitimate innovations.
"Walker Digital is about reengineering the DNA of the future of business" Walker declares. "What we hope is that a group of thoughtful people can together reinvent whole sectors of the global economy. And not only can we reinvent them, we can own those inventions." 1
Of course, reengineering is itself the bane of all attempts to protect intellectual property. Ecommerce patents currently remain unchallenged, but the generic nature of many of them may enable competitors to formulate alternatives that achieve similar ends without infringements. In any case; interest in filing business process patents certainly forces companies to spend on patent lawyers rather than on software and service development. This may help the image of a startup, however, the ability to prove early and continuos commercial use of technology is likely to be important
Meanwhile the cost of defending a claim of intellectual property infringement will often be more than the cost of paying royalties to the claimant. Smaller companies have long complained that larger companies restrict their movements with walls of patents." As always, the cost of litigation is a form of social tax on business.
Responsibility and Privacy.
The abstract quality of the web and its apparent autonomous existence as a medium of communication and business often cause uncertainty about personal and corporate ownership of the acts committed through it. Responsibility for content and transactions is not always as clear as in the traditional commercial world, where formal and informal codes of conduct have consolidated over many generations of use.
Reliance on electronic communications mediated by network and machines whose functions are mysterious to the majority of users raises suspicion about privacy and its accidental or malicious betrayal. In one sense, the internet is the ultimate bureaucracy- a faceless solicitor,