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Electronic Signatures in International Contracts


Carolina Monica Laborde

Electronic signature legislation seeks to facilitate e-commerce by providing an electronic equivalent to handwritten signatures in paper-based contracts. However, electronic signature legislation enacted in the past years in different jurisdictions has followed a dissimilar approach. In light thereof, this book analyzes the legal validity of electronic signatures in international contracts potentially subject to divergent electronic signature regulation. To this end, four major issues are addressed: the technological and legal concept of electronic signatures; the legal regulation of electronic signatures; the determination of the electronic signature legislation that will be applicable to an international contract; and, finally, the implications of applying one electronic signature law or another. The research covers the laws of Argentina, Germany and the United States of America as well as international conventions.


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C. Conclusions 64


64 Part II: Electronic signature legislation Also the Public Access to Court Electronic Records (PACER) is available, which allows online consultation of files.178 For consumer protection purposes, E-Sign prohibits certain notifications to be served using electronic means of communication.179 Finally, the use of electronic documents is also excluded for transport documents or handling instructions of toxic or dangerous products (Section 103(b)(3) E-Sign). The underlying idea in all exceptions is that the use of the electronic form might be premature and prejudicial. Therefore, the exceptions have a protective goal and when the exceptions no longer fulfill that goal they have no reason to be. That is why a review shall be conducted by the Secretary of Commerce to assess whether the exceptions are still required (Section 103(c) E-Sign). In the report “Electronic Signatures: A Review of the Exceptions to Electronic Signatures in Global and National Commerce Act”180 the U.S. Department of Commerce concludes that it is in the consumers’ best interest that the exceptions in E-Sign be retained.181 When balancing the elimination of the exception and the effect of such removal on consumers, consumers´ interests prevail. C. Conclusions In the United States of America, electronic signatures have been regulated both by state legislatures and the US Congress. Therefore, in order to avoid divergent legislation within the United States of America, UETA and E-Sign were adopted. 178 . 179 The notices excluded are: notices of cancellation or termination of utility services, notices related to the lease of a primary...

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