WEB SITES – 5 Legal Tips

WEB SITES – 5 Legal Tips

Web sites get stale and out of date. Laws and regulations change. If you haven’t updated your Web site in the past 12 months, it’s time for a review.

1. Jurisdiction Statement?

The Internet makes access to Web sites possible from anywhere on the planet. You want to make it clear that your Web site is governed by the laws of your selected state. This way, you are less likely to find yourself being sued for violating the laws of some other place.

For example, my Web site says, “This Web site shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of Massachusetts, USA, without regard to its choice of law rules.” http://www.smartfast.com/pages/juris.html

2. Disclaimer?

Does your site have a disclaimer? You want to make it clear that people should not rely upon the information without seeking specific advice or checking in for an update. You may want to specify that prices and terms are subject to change.

For example: my Web site says “The information provided on this Web site is intended as a general overview and should not be relied upon as legal advice.”

3. Copyright notice?

Is there a Copyright notice on your Web site? While the Copyright notice is not required by law, it is a good business practice to use it to make it clear that you are claiming Copyright protection for the contents of your Web site. Copying is rampant on the Internet and if you’ve invested substantial time and effort in developing your Web site, it makes sense to put people on notice that you are claiming Copyright protection. For example, my Web site says “Copyright © 2000-2011 Jean D. Sifleet, Esq. All Rights Reserved.”

It’s even better to register the Copyright – but that’s a topic for another e-newsletter. If you would like more information about registering your Copyright, click here to read my blog.

4. Content created by someone else?

Is there any Copyright-protected content (created by someone else) on your Web site? If your Web site has any music, images, quotes or even articles published about your business, you may need to confirm that you have the right to use the content created by other people. The general rule is give credit to the source, “link” – don’t copy and embed.

5. Privacy Policy?

Privacy is a growing concern for many people. Government regulations are increasing. For example, there are strict rules about the use of personally identifiable information.

My Web site says: “Smart Fast® has a firm commitment to protecting the privacy of the information collected on the Web site. The information collected on the site is not shared with nor available for use by the Web site host and the site has security measures in place to protect the loss, misuse and alteration of the information under its control. We do not disclose information that you may give us to any outside parties, unless required by law. If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, or your dealings with Smartfast.com, please contact Jean Sifleet.” http://www.smartfast.com/pages/privacy.html

In conclusion, your Web site is a key component of your overall business. It’s easy to assume that everything is OK. Is it? Take the time to review your Web site and ensure that you are up to date and making the best possible use of this powerful business tool.

Jean D. Sifleet, Esq.
Business Attorney
120 South Meadow Rd.
Clinton, MA 01510 USA
t. 508-361-0916
f. 978-368-6105

Big firm expertise – Small firm accessibility®

P.S. My business is built on referrals. It’s always a pleasure to receive a phone call that starts with, “I was referred to you by ______________.” Thanks for thinking of me when you hear someone has a business issue. Feel free to forward this eNews to a friend or colleague who you think would benefit from the information.