Germany was one of few countries world-wide that adopted the first acts of legislation in an attempt to reach a certain level of legal certainty for companies that started to use the world wide web as a platform for doing business as well as for consumers. The government recognised very early that there is a real call for action and adopted in 1997 the Information and Communications Services Act comprising the Digital Signature Act, Teleservices Act and the Teleservices Data Protection Act. In line with this new body of legislation several other areas of law had to be amended such as the Criminal Code, the Misdemeanours Act and the Copyright Code. In 1997 German legislators for the first time started to adapt some areas of existing law to the new medium as the emergence of completely novel activities needed to be considered. The simple interpretation of existing laws and their applicability by the way of analogy did not suffice the Internet reality.
This article will analyse both, the current legislative development of E-Commerce law as well as its interpretation by the courts, namely the recent case law in this area. Since German E-Commerce law mainly stems from the implementation of Directives of the European Commission European Law will also be regarded where appropriate.
Finally, the essay will show the future prospects of the E-Commerce law in Germany.