Electronic data processing law (EDP law) stands for a highly complex field of law which comprehends all of the numerous facets of information technology law (IT law). In so far it is to be seen as an ongoing development of that field of law which used to be referred-to as computer law.
The German legislation does not specifically refer to and define EDP law as such. One of the essential constituents of EDP law is the law of contracts concerning the field of information technologies. Here it is the questions which will come up in connection with the drafting of individual contracts and with the provisions of a company’s General Business Terms and Conditions which are of particular significance. The spectrum of the variety of contracts which may be applicable in the field of information technology comprises software contracts, IT project contracts, contracts concerning the production, the sale, the letting, the leasing or the distribution and sale of hardware. Over and above that service contracts covering issues such as professional counselling, the use or the adaptation and updating of software are frequently calling for expert advice. The specific field of software contracts includes contracts providing for the creation of individual software, the sale, the letting and the leasing of standard software as well as contracts concerning the adaptation of such standard software to given systems, and the distribution and sale of software.
Contracts in the field of EDP law can in many cases be covered by those principles of law which are outlined in German private or civil law and in given statutory provisions without having recourse to particular IT-specific laws. When it comes to the individual drafting of the form and of the wording of such contracts it is, however, indispensable to also consider and reflect the technical particularities which are attributable to information technologies in general, as well as the specific business models of the IT industry, and to appropriately specify the same in legal concepts and language.
Another domain which is also covered by EDP law is the vast field of electronic business operations and transactions, which also comprises all the problems involved in the so-called E-Commerce field. In so far there are many and considerable links and overlappings with internet law which is a specific field of law in itself.
Provider contracts are yet another specific domain calling for legal advice, as they involve numerous liability risks and must also comply with specific normative requirements.