For many of us young entrepreneurs, our websites are our storefronts. Using the internet to build a business may seem really straightforward, but there are certain requirements that websites must follow in order to comply with federal and state laws. Here are the basics:
You should think about your own information collection processes and draft a plain English policy that fits your website and business. Or, better yet, hire a lawyer to do it for you.
In a recent article, I shared Rachel’s Rule of Thumb, which is: have a contract for every relationship your business enters into. That includes your businesses relationship with website visitors, subscribers and clients; particularly if you sell products or services from your website.
- Your right to use information posted by users on your site.
- Whether and how your intellectual property posted on the site may be used by users.
- Payment terms, warranties and liabilities waived, account management, site security, jurisdiction for any lawsuits arising from their use of your site, etc.
Consider the ways in which clients and visitors could be injured (physically, financially, etc.) by your site. Are you giving advice on a particular topic? Selling services or products? Making promises or guarantees? All of these things could open you up to liability, so having terms that limit that liability is essential.
Disclosures, Advertising, Etc.
- If you use someone else’s photographs be sure you have permission and give them credit for the photo. Check out Link With Love’s campaign on respecting the intellectual property of other’s on the web.
- Are you quoting someone? Give credit or provide a link to the author.
- Additionally, disclose your affiliate marketing relationships to your readers, which is now an FTC requirement, and be honest in sharing testimonials and in your advertising.
Our generation is known for being socially responsible in business, so make effort to continue that reputation by using honesty as your guide.
Disclaimer: This post discusses general legal issues, but it does not constitute legal advice in any respect. No reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of any information presented herein without seeking the advice of counsel in the relevant jurisdiction. YFS Magazine expressly disclaims all liability in respect of any actions taken or not taken based on any contents of this post.
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