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According to the International Telecommunications Union, 43.3% of the world’s population has access to the internet:

  • The 81.3% of all households in developed countries.
  • The 34.1% of all households in developing countries.

The internet is a dynamic area and it is in constant evolution. Given its noticeable increasing presence in our everyday life, and its incorporation into our economic and commercial life, it is necessary to establish a legal framework that regulates the use of this medium.  This is now regulated by the Law of Information Society Services and electronic commerce of 2002 (LSSI in Spanish).

The LSSI is applicable when there is an economic activity/profit for the provider of the service, that is to say, when the web page receives income, whether it is:

  • Direct: by the electronic commerce activities developed.
  • Indirect: by advertising or sponsorship.

Therefore, its objective is to regulate the legal regime of the internet-related services and electronic contracting, by ensuring that:

  • The service providers include in their page information such as:
  • Their name or company name and contact details.
  • If the company is registered in the trade register (Registro Mercantil) or any other public register.
  • If it is a regulated profession, the professional association and the number of collegiate.
  • Tax identification number (NIF).
  • Information on the price of the products, indicating whether or not applicable taxes and shipping costs are included.
  • The codes of conduct to which it is attached, and how to consult them electronically.
  • Contracts concluded, even if they are not physically on paper, to be valid and effective, thereby reinforcing the effectiveness of the electronic documents as evidence before the courts, except, in any case, contracts relating to Family Law and Inheritance.
  • The provider has previously requested the addressee the consent to send him commercial communications, or already had a prior contractual relationship by which he will be able to send him advertising about products or services similar to those he already, at some point, had contracted.
  • When Providers use cookies (they allow providers of internet-related services to store and retrieve data on users stored in their computers), they must obtain the consent of the users after informing them with clear and complete information about its use and purpose.
  • Service providers cooperate with the authorities in the case of being required.

Service providers can be:

  • Intermediation providers, such as:
  • Companies that supply internet access to its customers.
  • Data hosting providers.
  • Link servers.
  • Legal entities and individuals that perform economic activities through the internet.

The LSSI sets the necessary rules for the use and enjoyment of the network, as well as it grants that the possible economic activity generated is safe for service providers, both providers of intermediation, as companies that offer their products, or citizens who possess a web page.

Given that users already have at their disposal the whole repertoire of civil and criminal actions to demand the fulfillment of the contractual obligations assumed by electronic means, the LSSI adds to these the action for injunction, which is directed to obtain the immediate cessation of any conduct contrary to the LSSI which affects the collective or diffuse interests of consumers and users.  This action can be exercised by the persons, associations or groups of consumers and users affected, as well as by the Public Prosecutor’s Office, the National Institute of Consumption and the corresponding bodies of the Autonomous Communities and local entities with competence in the field of defense of consumers.

The Law of Services of the Information Society is focused primarily to regulate commerce on the Internet, but it goes further than just that, it regulates all kinds of services of the information society and the different providers.

Who is subject to this law?

  • Established entities or individuals resident in Spain.
  • Persons resident in a State Member of the EU or the European Economic Area.
  • The established entities or persons resident in a third country, when they provide direct services specifically to the Spanish territory.

 

 

Jéssica Serra

International Department

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