E-Commerce: Vote Nears On Global Treaty With E-Commerce Impact The fate of a long-debated convention on jurisdiction over and enforcement of foreign judgments that include cross-border e-commerce transactions will be decided in a few weeks, when negotiating nations decide whether to move a pared-down draft. But even the United States, a proponent of attempting to negotiate a limited convention, has yet to decide how it will vote. The draft is intended to cover disputes arising over business-to-business (B2B) contracts naming a specific court or courts of jurisdiction over disputed transactions. Business groups appear to have essentially embraced the current draft as a starting point for negotiations, though most seek additional changes. But libraries and consumer groups remain skeptical about the potential impact on their constituents. As the majority of the software industry's sales are B2B, and much of those sales international, the Business Software Alliance and the Software and Information Industry Alliance have expressed general support for an agreement that they see as providing more predictability in jurisdiction and enforcement of contracts. But at a State Department-led meeting on Monday, several business and non-business groups expressed concern. Alan Kasper, an attorney with the American Intellectual Property Law Association (AIPLA), said his group supports pushing the effort forward. But he raised questions about why the proposed convention would explicitly exclude certain agreements, such as patents, trademarks and possibly other intellectual property rights. Kasper also raised concern that the convention may not provide a desired level of protection against attack in foreign courts for intellectual property rights that are granted by one jurisdiction. Thirdly, the AIPLA wants the draft to more strongly provide an exception for contracting parties where a contract reflects "manifest injustice." Verizon Communications has said it would like to see the draft changed to more explicitly protect Internet service providers from liability for content carried on their networks. The Consumer Project on Technology (CPT) circulated several concerns, such as that the convention would create an overly rigid international framework that would be difficult to change and that could expand incentives for firms to "forum shop" for courts favorable to their cases. CPT also said the definition of a consumer, essentially a person acting for "personal, family or household purposes," is too narrow. And it raised concern about non-negotiated contracts, such as those entered into unknowingly when people click on Web sites or download software. Three library associations echoed those last concerns in a Friday letter to Jeffrey Kovar of the State Department, who is leading the process. The American Library Association offered several alternatives that might resolve concerns about non-negotiated contracts and inadequate "escape" clauses to the treaty terms. The Computer and Communications Industry Association also sent a letter Friday citing concern about the application of a copyright law to contracts. If enough countries show support by the July deadline, officials at the Hague Conference on Private International Law, which is overseeing the process, will decide to move forward with the draft serving as a starting point for negotiations. By William New National Journal's Technology Daily