E-commerce Directive 2000/31/EC

The European Union's Electronic Commerce Directive (the E-commerce Directive) establishes a framework for electronic commerce across the European Union's internal market and aims to provide legal certainty for business and consumers alike.

Introduced in 2000, the Directive establishes harmonised rules on transparency and information requirements for online service providers, commercial communications, electronic contracts and limitations of liability of intermediary service providers.

Country of Origin

To ensure the proper functioning of e-commerce across the Internal Market, information society services are, in principle, subject to the law of the Member State in which the service provider is established. In turn, the Member State in which the information society service is received cannot restrict incoming services.

The Directive also enhances administrative cooperation between the Member States and self-regulation.

Information society services

Business Directory, E-commerce Directive

Examples of services covered by the Directive include online information services (such as online newspapers), online selling of products and services (books, financial services and travel services), online advertising, professional services (lawyers, doctors, estate agents), entertainment services and basic intermediary services (access to the Internet and transmission and hosting of information). These services include also services provided free of charge to the recipient and funded, for example, by advertising or sponsorship.

Further information

EU member state implementation table

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