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Internet and Website Law

Internet and Website Law

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E-Commerce Law and Website Development

Most businesses now use websites to advertise and sell products and services via the Internet. Typically websites use various types of intellectual property (i.e. pictures, content, names, logos, and links) to make the website appealing to its users. You have probably seen, or maybe your site has, terms and conditions of use and privacy policies to govern the use of the website and the intellectual property that encompasses the website.

Developing your website and selling over the Internet can create liability for your business. It is important to review the terms of your website agreements and your website content for several reasons:

  • Information, trademarks, and copyrighted material are assets of your company and should be protected from unauthorized use.
  • If items are used on the website that were not created by the owner of the website, unauthorized use can create liability.  For example, if pictures are used, you should be aware of the origin of those pictures and have a license to use them.  (Internet scams are popping up that involve making photos available on the web and then demanding large sums of money for anyone that uses them without a license.)
  • If you sell items on the Internet, the terms set forth on your website should address return policies, warranties or transactions within your state or out of your home state or country.
  • The terms of use of the website should match your type of business and take into account the unique aspects that your business has to offer. Also, the “electronic signature” should bind the user to those terms.
  • If the website collects information about its users, there may be requirements to protect such information under federal, state and foreign laws.
  • If you have a privacy policy, it must match your procedures for protecting such information.
  • You may want to disclaim and / or limit your liability, particularly for content posted by users or unrelated companies, which you may have limited or no control over.
  • Websites and e-mails are advertising vehicles for your goods and services. Federal and state advertising rules apply to marketing goods and services over the Internet.

Customized Documents

We offer document packages and will customize each package for your particular business. Before preparing your website agreements, we request very specific information about your business so that your business will be adequately protected. In addition, the information you provide will allow us to make you aware of issues that may be of particular concern to your business.

We will work closely with you and your website developer to make sure the terms of the agreements on your website match your operations. Conflicting terms are the downfall of many “form” agreements.

Parmenter O’Toole provides comprehensive consulting and document drafting services for all of your e-commerce and Internet use needs.

  • Conditions of Use
  • Privacy Policy
  • Legal Notices
  • Vendor Agreements
  • Guide to Use of Intellectual Property

Do Internet Agreements Differ?

No two businesses are exactly the same. Just because a business sells the same or similar items as your business, does not mean the agreements, such as terms and conditions or a privacy policy, will work for your business. Care needs to be taken to make sure that the terms and conditions you place on your website match the way you operate your business. In addition, you may have special circumstances that a “standard form” agreement does not cover. For example, a Privacy Policy can create liability if it does not match your actual use. Therefore, the terms should be reviewed carefully.

Related Services: Licensing Content; Web, Click and Software Agreements; Website Development; Website Privacy Policy Agreements; Website Terms and Conditions

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