Attention IT Entrepreneurs: Brace Yourself – a New VAT Regulation Is In Place

Attention IT Entrepreneurs: Brace Yourself – a New VAT Regulation Is In Place

In case your company has converted a huge amount of EU-people to paying customers for your IT and online products and services, we truthfully wish you to retain them and continue growing. Yet, you should consider that commencing January 01, 2015 a new European VAT regulation is effective for all companies providing so called “electronically supplied services” to citizens or residents of the EU member states, regretfully regardless of the number of customers. List of Applicable Services To all of you who will ask what stays behind “electronically supplied services” and whether my company is a qualified provider: if you find your company’s business in the list of services below, start getting seriously interested: Website hosting and webpage hosting; Automated, online and distance maintenance of programmes; Remote system administration; Online data warehousing where specific data is stored and retained automatically; Online supply of on-demand disc space; Accessing or downloading software (including procurement/accountancy programmes and anti-virus software) plus updates; Software to block banner adverts showing otherwise known as Bannerblockers; Download drivers, such as software that interfaces computers with peripheral equipment (such as printers); Online automated installation of filters on websites; Online automated installation of firewalls; Accessing or downloading desktop themes; Accessing or downloading photographic or pictorial images or screensavers; Digitized content of books and other electronic publications; Subscription to online newspapers and journals; Weblogs and website statistics; Online news, traffic information and weather reports; Online information generated automatically by software from specific data input by the customer, such as legal and financial data (in particular such data as continually updated stock market data in real time); The provision of advertising...
The Deadliest Legal Sins of Online Businesses

The Deadliest Legal Sins of Online Businesses

Internet offers endless business opportunities and amazing flexibility, yet laws do extend not only to the good old offline ventures, but to e-businesses too and like it or not, they should be obeyed. The applicable regulations however tend to be neglected sometimes leading to legal vulnerability of the respective business, disputes or simply customer dissatisfaction. Some of the most common mistakes related to legal compliance of online businesses that I have seen in my practice include: The Copy/Paste Sin Terms and Conditions or Privacy Policy have been copied from the internet and are not fully applicable to the case. In many situations they are not even followed by the business itself. Forgetting the Change Changes in operations and customer service have not been reflected with a respective modification in the Terms and Conditions, Privacy Policy or other legal documents. Even changes in the applicable laws are not reflected by the Terms. It`s all about the Contract No written contracts have been concluded with the website developer, content providers, logo designers, etc. to clearly set the intellectual property rights to these works. In case of intellectual property dispute you need to be able to prove two basic things about the disputed work – who created it (i.e. you or someone hired by you) or when was it created (i.e. before the other party is claiming they created it). To read the full article, check Chicoverdose where it was originally...
Do You Want to Become a Superhuman?

Do You Want to Become a Superhuman?

THE ENIGMA OF HUMAN ENHANCEMENT. CAN WE MEET SUPERHEROES ON THE STREET? Imagine being tall, blond, blue-eyed, young, beautiful, always in a good mood, fit, good in science, with strong talent in sports and maybe in music. What if most of the people you knew were just like that, too? Superhuman? Well, probably you had to use some technology to become that perfect (and I do not mean breast augmentation), but obviously not everybody is born flawless. It is becoming and it may become even more possible to extend human capacities beyond their normal healthy state. A movement called transhumanism grows very popular lately. Its goal is to fundamentally transform humans by developing and making widely available technologies to greatly enhance human intellectual, physical, and psychological capacities. Technologies will include the convergence of nano, bio, information and cognitive technologies. Here are the top 5 ways we humans may be enhanced into superhumans (or posthumans as transhumanists refer the person after enhancement) in the future. What do you want to enhance about yourself? Who Wants to Live Forever? Currently the average person would live to about 80 years if in Europe, or 87 if in Japan. Or 50 in Somalia. Anyhow, it is considerably longer compared to 20-34 as in Stone Age, which may be considered the normal life span of our kind. So, obviously life span has been enhanced in the ages to reach its current expectancy. To read the full article, check Chicoverdose where it was originally...
The Tilburg University Interview

The Tilburg University Interview

It may sound cliché, but the time I spent studying at Tilburg University (UvT) was one of the most exciting periods of my life. Not only I have got to the depths of law and technology, but I have also met many incredible inspiring people from just about everywhere. The whole experience made me feel at home in Tilburg – it was the right thing to do at the right time and place. For the above reasons, it is not surprising that I was very excited when UvT contacted me recently for an alumni interview about my experience with the university and the program I have studied. It was a true pleasure to answer several questions and I hope my point of view can help prospective students on the very important decision whether to spend a year studying this particular program. My favorite question was about who or what gives me inspiration – because above all, we must be inspired and passionate about what we do, don`t you think? Interested to read my full interview on Tilburg University official website?...
Top 7 Legal Light Bulbs to Enlighten Your Online Business

Top 7 Legal Light Bulbs to Enlighten Your Online Business

So, you want to start an online business? It is easy, isn’t it – you get a domain, buy a hosting, setup a web site and, voila, you are cashing in 24/7. Right? Wrooong! You forgot the lawyers. There are tons of them and they can make your life hell. If you don’t want this to happen, you need to figure out some crucial stuff in the “Big L”-area. Spell it with me: L-E-G-A-L-S-T-U-F-F. E-commerce offers endless opportunities with the unlimited number of potential worldwide customers, the ease of purchasing a product from each location, the optimization of business processes. However anyone engaged in it should keep in mind that laws and rules exist online as much as they do offline. Knowing the legal aspect of e-commerce turns out to be one of the key factors about online business success. Since it is a wide topic and a professional legal advice is needed in each particular case, this post will only sketch the applicable legal requirements. B2B online relations differ from B2C ones, mainly in the more rigorous standard to ensure safety and consumer protection in B2C web businesses, but in order to summarize, these are the main legal aspects of e-commerce, particularly in the EU. Light Bulb One: Protect Your Most Precious Asset One of the very first steps to be taken is the domain name registration and its protection. It is important due to the fact that the domain name contract, which is basically a service agreement, protects the domain name in the relation between the parties to this agreement, but it could not automatically offer protection...
How to Combat Spam

How to Combat Spam

More than thirty years after the famous Monty Python sketch, spam has now become a worldwide implicating problem that grows exponentially every year. Most often defined as an “unsolicited commercial e-mail” or “unsolicited bulk e-mail”, spam messages are estimated to be between 45% and 70% of all incoming e-mails. Damages from spamming include communication service disruption, decrease in productivity (the average employee productivity loss per year due to spam is approximately 1200 minutes), security breaches, increased costs for anti spam techniques and activities, reputation damages, etc. Since it is now undoubted that spam seriously interfere with the business operations of companies (ISPs and end users), as well it is more than a nuisance for the regular individual internet user, a proactive solution to the problem should be developed. Different anti spam techniques have been discussed, including technical measures, legal and informal measures such as self regulation. The results are quite clear – no single type of measure is capable of completely eradicating the spam trouble, so using a multilateral approach, which includes all of the abovementioned measures at the same time, should be adopted. Technological measures As already mentioned, multiple direct and indirect companies` and individual users` losses are attributable to spam and a versatile approach should be found. Unsolicited messages consume a substantial amount of traffic and bandwidth capacity, storage, time and money, and the technological means to combat them should be the first line of defense. Such measures mainly include filtering out and blocking techniques, whose main types and features will be presented. Filtering in this paper is used as s generic term that includes all kind...
The Future of Nanotechnology In Medicine

The Future of Nanotechnology In Medicine

Nanotechnology is an umbrella science in which many disciplines converge that focus on the phenomena of materials on the nanometer scale (оne nanometer is one billionth of a meter). An important characteristic of nanomaterials is that they show completely different properties and qualities (surface, chemical reactions, etc.) compared to bigger particles. As promising as it seems, nanotechnology is nowadays a very disputable science that attracts the attention of scholars of all fields. One of the most important application fields of nanotechnology is medicine and pharmaceutics with the promise to revolutionize the way current medicine is viewed and performed. Many futuristic technologies and devices are currently in a process of research and development, such as quantum dots, lab-on-a-chip, targeted drug delivery, automatic monitoring and drug delivery systems, tissue engineering and even smart nanobots. However, since nanotechnology is still in its early age of development, many risks and moral drawbacks need to be evaluated, especially regarding applications in such a globally important field as medicine. Application As mentioned, nanotechnology presents a vast set of opportunities for medical developments that are of significant interest for scientists and practitioners from multidisciplinary fields. Some of the possible nanomed applications have already been implemented in practice, such as nanomaterials in sunscreens and cosmetics, others as nanobots are still way in the future. Since nanotechnology is a convergent science covering many fields and disciplines, nano  devices are expected to be applied in multiple fields – military, cosmetics, pharmaceutics, etc. The current article will not try to elaborate a comprehensive list of all possible nano applications, but mostly focus on specific applications and challenges regarding nanomedicine. One...
Application of Nanotechnology In Security

Application of Nanotechnology In Security

Nanotechnology is a convergence of sciences that study the phenomenon on the nanometer scale (1 nanometer equals 1 billionth of a meter) since nanomaterials have different characteristics compared to the bigger particles of the same material. A couple of decades ago it has been part of science fiction novels and subject of theoretical researches in secret laboratories. Nowadays, nanotechnology is one of the most promising and the most disputable new technologies that exist. Nanotechnologies alone or in convergence with other technologies (NBIC) are expected to have significant application in security, enabling forensic investigators to perform complex analysis or to discover even the smallest traces on the crime scene. However, application and development trends should be also analyzed in order to draw the full picture of possible nano-scenarios applied in forensics, so that no risk or uncertainty is left unexplored. Application and benefits As already mentioned, nanotechnologies are expected to have important application in forensic research. In the field of academic research as well as already in practice, different specific applications with multiple potential benefits have been identified. Forensic research is seen as the process of using specific techniques and methods of gathering and analyzing traces and investigating a crime. It is believed that the introduction of nanotechnologies will greatly change those processes by making them faster, more accurate, more effective, easy to apply and in general will change and mix functional phases, which explains the indisputable significance of those technologies. As nanotechnology is a general term which includes multidisciplinary technologies, this article is not trying to draft a comprehensive list. The focus however is on the possible technologies that...
Contractual Limitations of Liability In ICT Contracts

Contractual Limitations of Liability In ICT Contracts

Centuries ago Roman law has been merciless to debtors who have not been able to perform their duties, leading to the loss of personal freedom and disposal of their income. Nowadays, the freedom to contract presents multiple opportunities to divert from the liability burden imposed by law and to enter into agreements which drift away from the statutory regime, by including limitation of liability (LoL) clauses in the contracts. The main reason for drafting LoL provisions is to manage the risk associated with a project, thus facilitating competition and business transactions. However, when LoL clauses are applied to an ICT contract, the specifics of the ICT projects should be carefully considered. Many ICT projects are complex, innovative, and a failure in the successful implementation may affect whole businesses. Having all the risks in mind, the inclusion of LoL provisions in ICT contracts is substantial, for they can encourage more clients and suppliers to enter into contractual relations, reduce the overall project price and arrange the risk sharing in high risk projects. LoL provisions in ICT contracts Generally, the LoL is a provision found in contracts that restricts the amount of damage parties can recover from each other. It is aiming at allocating the project risk and to protect the parties from the uncertainties, associated with the unlimited liability. However, the liability in most legal systems cannot be limited regarding intentional misconduct and the limitation is only applicable as to the parties of the contract and not to third parties that might be in any way damaged, since they are not in contractual relations. According to the Principles of the...
Certification Service Providers` Specific Liability Questioned

Certification Service Providers` Specific Liability Questioned

The concept of electronic signature (electronic signature is defined by the e-signature Directive in art. 1 as “data in electronic form which are attached to or logically associated with other electronic data and which serve as a method of authentication”) has been introduced in order to establish legal and market security of the internet communications and commercial relations and specific liability has been linked to the entities offering certification services. The e-signature Directive also contains the concept of qualified electronic signature which is an advanced e-signature based on qualified certificate issued by a Certification Service Provider (an entity or a legal or natural person who issues certificates or provides other services related to electronic signatures) who fulfills the requirements of Annex II of the Directive. The legal effects of using a qualified electronic signature are equal to and linked to the legal consequences of a paper-based document signed with a handwritten signature and can be used as an evidence in court proceedings. The requirements as to the signature (e.g. the usage of Secure Signature Creation Device – SSCD) and to the Certification Service Providers (CSP) are expected to create trust and reliability in the electronic communication and to promote further market and social relations. However, the specific liability regime regarding CSPs in fact proves to actually shift away from the idea of reliability and ease. Qualified signature – challenging CSP`s liability According to the Directive the CSP is liable: for the accuracy and completeness of the data in the qualified certificate; for the identity of the signatory of signature-creation data corresponding to the signature-verification data given or identified in...

DSC_5012_small My name is Desislava Stankova – an ICT lawyer, a project manager, a consultant, a speaker and even more – an adventurer. Welcome to my eLaw Guide and feel free to read, question, share, but most of all enjoy.

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