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Liability of online service providers

01-10-2012

Aurélia Marie

Several recent court decisions have clarified the nature, in law, of the activities of service providers on the Internet, and their related obligations.

Several recent court decisions have clarified the nature, in law, of the activities of service providers on the Internet, and their related obligations.

In an unprecedented case, the Paris Court of Appeal has held that eBay France and eBay Europe were not performing any acts of sale by public auction. In its judgment of May 25, 2012, the court held that:

  • In view of the absence of representation of the seller by eBay and the active role kept by the seller in the sale, eBay entities were not acting as an agent of the seller; and
     
  • In view that the seller may choose a bidder other than the highest one, the sale was not made by auction.

According to the court, eBay’s activities thus merely constitute brokerage, ie, putting persons willing to enter into an agreement in touch.


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