Wirtschaft digital Baden-Württemberg

Law

New legal framework for the economy

The dynamic nature of the changes facing the industrial and services sectors in light of growing digitalisation is a challenge for the economy and even more for jurisprudence. Legal issues are increasingly arising in all sectors of industry. This means, for instance, that every company which presents itself on the Internet must know precisely the legal requirements that have to be fulfilled and the risks to which it could be exposed because the Internet is not a legal vacuum. Copyright, brand protection, competition law and data protection are just some of the regulations that need to be observed.

Note: This information is non-binding and does not constitute legal advice in the proper sense. The contents of this offering cannot are not meant to replace case-specific and binding legal advice geared to your specific situation. All the information presented is therefore given without any warranty of its correctness and completeness.

Liability on the Internet

Be it in online commerce, in social networks used for business purposes or when publishing general terms and conditions on a website; failure to observe important legal aspects can mean a risk of fines and actions for injunction.

The list of requirements to be observed by operators of online shops is long in order to ensure legal compliance and avoid warning procedures. One of the most common requirements is for complete contents of the imprint. But care should also be exercised when selecting pictures and product descriptions. If pictures are used without the creator’s consent or texts copied from other websites, this can lead not only to warning procedures but also to fines. The German Consumer Protection Law contains many other rules. In order to ensure law-compliant behaviour, online shops must ensure that the version of their general terms and conditions and the revocation terms they use are in conformity with the law. These include, for instance, rules for the payment options offered of which at least one most be available to customers at no cost and also ‘usual and reasonable’.

In order to avoid these and other traps, users can avail themselves of standardised templates. If even more comprehensive protection is needed, complete packages (subject to a fee) are also available which provide not only law-compliant templates for general terms and conditions or revocation terms, but also a complete legal opinion regarding legal compliance of the online shop.

Technological innovation and law

Law and technical progress do not proceed parallel, a fact that becomes particularly clear in industry. Automation density increases, processes are interconnected, different data sources are used. Work is performed across company boundaries, and this creates considerable dependencies. Who is liable when a part fails of when a machine makes a mistake?

In this context, data protection and IT security are as relevant as liability questions in accident scenarios or in the case of product defects. Be it in development, production or logistics – entirely new possibilities for production are emerging, but so too are complex legal issues.

The diversity of the legal framework is illustrated, for instance, by the following case. A company has a new production line installed by engineers who are employed by the manufacturer. The line is controlled by software that was programmed by an external service provider. An accident occurs during production – a worker is hit by a machine arm. Claims must be clarified in such a case. Who is responsible for the injury? Who is liable for damage to property, if any? Which law applies? Does labour protection law or criminal law apply?