ELECTRONIC SIGNATURES


E-Commerce has been seeking rules to govern the new ways of doing business by electronic methods.  These rules are needed not only for standard commercial transactions that are being done by electronic methods (buying a shirt over the internet, for example) but also for transactions involving computer related products and services (licensing software, for example).

The standard transaction carried out by electronic methods is being addressed in various ways.  The National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws has approved and recommended that the states adopt the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act ("UETA").  This deals with questions of how contracts are formed and enforced when they are created using electronic means, including electronic signatures.  The Maryland legislature is considering adopting UETA, with minor changes, as Title 21 of the Commercial Law Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.  See the Internet Resources section of this website for resources on this new area of the law.

The rules needed to deal with electronic information has been addressed by the  National Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws which has approved and recommended that the states adopt the Uniform Computer Information Transactions Act ("UCITA").  "Computer transactions" are intended to include any agreement that creates, modifies, transfers or modifies "computer information."  Computer information is intended to include licenses for software and related electronic information, internet access agreements, and service contracts.  The Maryland legislature is considering adopting UCITA, with minor changes, as Title 21 of the Commercial Law Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland.  See the Internet Resources section of this website for resources on this new area of the law.

The new proposed regulations in these two areas are very complex.  Suffice it to say at this point that if any transaction appears to be related to either of these two areas, these regulations should be consulted, if only to see what is excluded from their provisions.


Law Offices of Douglas Clark Hollmann


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