University of New Hampshire

School of Law

E-Commerce & The Law

Thousands of years ago our ancestors made the leap from a culture and economic system based on hunting and gathering to one of domesticated animals and planned agriculture. That change transformed the existing social, political, and, eventually, legal structures to accommodate new challenges. Today we are in the midst of another transformation that is testing the existing social, political, economic and legal structures, so painfully wrought to serve the needs of the Industrial Age.

At the most fundamental level commerce, the basis of the economy, has changed. Although in the strictest technical sense electronic commerce has been around since the invention of the telegraph, the emergence of computer networks has propelled e-commerce to the forefront of modern business practice. Today, the use of electronic information and communication technologies to facilitate the buying and selling of goods and services is both commonplace and essential.

This course is designed to provide the student with a foundational understanding of how the legal system in the United States is struggling to accommodate the challenges of the Information Age as the economy, society and everyday lives are transformed by new and emerging technologies. During the term, we will explore the emerging (and sometimes conflicting and uncertain) body of case and statutory law, and discuss the underlying policy concerns, as they apply to the use of new information technologies in the increasingly interconnected global society.

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