2015 promises to be an active year in terms of legislation in the area of digital trade. In this sense, those companies making business on the Internet should be paying attention to some new regulations that may affect their day-to-day activities.
According to Adigital (the Spanish Association of Digital Economy or “Asociación Española de la Economía Digital”), which includes more than 500 companies, the most affected areas in relation to digital trade in 2015 will be the following:
1. Financing and Taxation: Spain is going to be the fourth country to regulate crowdfunding. The regulatory regime for this alternative platform of financing will be set forth in the Law on the Promotion of the Business Financing, which is expected to be passed early this year.
2. Privacy, digital communication, data protection and cookies: in 2014 the regulation concerning the cookies has been changed and the first penalty for a failure to comply with that regulation took place, the right to oblivion has started to be applied in the search engines, and the Spanish Agency of Data Protection has published a Guide on the Evaluation of the Impact on Data Protection. The impact evaluations are not obligatory yet but it is expected that some companies will start implementing the foregoing this year.
3. Intellectual property: the new Intellectual Property Law 21/2014, which set forth an economic compensation for the use of non-significant contents of the editors by the news aggregators, came into force on January 1, 2015 .At the EU level, a reform of the copyright is being prepared. Furthermore, during 2015 the steps regarding the approval of a reform on the Spanish Criminal Code will continue, in order to introduce some amendments concerning crimes against intellectual property on the Internet.
4. Methods of payment and invoicing: The Regulation on fees of exchange for card payments shall be passed this year and the negotiations regarding the Directive on methods of payment shall continue. As January 15, 2015, the application of the Law on the Impulse of the Digital Invoice started.
5. Claim resolution: Although the Alternative Dispute Resolution Directive and the Online Dispute Resolutions Regulation are already in force, the transposition of the first to the national Spanish law and some steps necessary in order to fully apply the latter are still pending. These regulations intend to create a homogenous system of alternative dispute resolution with the consumers within the EU.
6. E-commerce and consumer rights: The EU Directive concerning this matter was transposed to the national law by means of the Law on the Protection of Consumers and Users, which has been in force since June 2014. This law has increased the volume of pre-contract information that must be provided to the consumer and has extended the withdrawal period up to 14 days. Furthermore, a European Regulation on Sales and Purchases is currently being negotiated.