In 1999, a crucial foundation of the legality of electronic commerce was created. This law, called the Uniform Electronic Transactions Act, or UETA, sought to enact uniform rules for electronic transactions and electronic signatures for all states in the USA. At the time, states had varying rules, which caused confusion just at the time when electronic commerce was becoming crucial to the economy.
UETA, a precursor to the ESIGN Act, has been adopted by 47 U.S. states (along with the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands). It stipulates that when a law requires either a writing or a signature, an electronic record or an electronic signature can satisfy that requirement when the parties to the transaction have agreed to proceed electronically.
Both UETA and ESIGN provide the following:
- No contract, signature, or record shall be denied legal effect solely because it is in electronic form
- A contract relating to a transaction cannot be denied legal effect solely because an electronic signature or record was used in its formation
As a benefit for all ESRA members and visitors, the entire UETA law is contained here.