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Monday, October 19, 2015

Legal Concerns When Doing Business Online

We live in a digital world and if you are not doing business online you could be missing out on the profits and other benefits of this marketplace.  If you want to expand your business horizons using the internet, you should be aware of the legal implications that may come along with the benefits.  You should make your customers aware of your policies when doing business online and it is also imperative that you tend to intellectual property concerns at the same time.

  1. I.                   Terms and Conditions

An important but frequently overlooked legal aspect of doing business online is the Terms and Conditions of Use agreement.  This agreement should detail who owns the website, what its purpose is and outline the business policies.  In essence, this agreement will formalize what is appropriate and inappropriate behavior on behalf of the business and its customers.  You should also include a disclaimer of liability on the site that is relevant to your business. An experienced business law attorney can help you draft both the agreement and disclaimer to be sure they are valid.

  1. II.                Privacy

Privacy is always a main concern for customers and they want to be assured that their information will be kept safe.  It is important to have a privacy policy in place that explains how you handle customer information.  The policy should be comprehensive and accessible to the public somewhere on the website.  Once the policy is in place, it is imperative that you abide by it.  The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state law govern the collection and use of consumer data and it is in your best interests that an attorney reviews your privacy policy to make sure that it meets these specific regulations.

  1. III.             Intellectual Property

With regard to intellectual property, there are two preeminent concerns.  When setting up your website initially, it is important to check your URL to determine whether it is being used by someone else.  This will offer some protection against intellectual property claims in this area. In addition, it is a good idea to add a copyright notice to every page relating to the page and its content.  This will protect you in the event that someone attempts to use your original work as their own.  Actually applying for a copyright might be a good idea and an intellectual property attorney can assist you with that.

All of the standard laws that apply to regular business also apply to online business.  But, there are additional rules and regulations that you need to be cognizant of as you develop and maintain a web presence.  This is not an all encompassing list and therefore retaining a business law attorney knowledgeable in e-commerce is in the best interest of every business owner with a website


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