For many companies today, a website is far more than a means of communication. Instead, it’s a way to connect with customers, provide information, and market products and services. There are a number of legal concerns with any business site, however, and having an experienced California business attorney conduct a site audit can help address those concerns.

Site Content

The material you publish online, be it pictures, text, or videos, needs to be carefully monitored. There are issues of copyright law and trademark infringement that must be watched, as well as concerns surrounding defamation.

  • Copyright Law – In the event your site reproduces a work, displays it, or distributes it in any way without permission from the owner of that work, you could be risking liability for copyright violations. Unfortunately, this can happen quite innocently. Obtaining images or text for your page or even scripts that run Java Applets or ActiveX can be considered copyright violations. If a company is building your site, ensure they understand that all of the images, text, and scripts obtained from outside sources must be accompanied with the appropriate permissions.
  • Trademarks – Courts opinions indicate that if you create a likelihood of confusion, mistake, or deception in the minds of customers, you can be held liable for infringing on the trademark of another company. This often occurs when website owners or their agents use the trademark of other brands or companies without permission or create a mark similar to that of another company.
  • Defamation – Marketing language sometimes seeks to damage the reputation of others. If the language, photos, or even the links on your site do that, you may be held liable for damages. Avoid making statements that may damage the reputation of individuals or other organizations. Avoid misleading links or pictures as well.

Links

Linking to other sites is quite common. There are a number of places you may use links on your site. They may appear in your blog posts, on a resource page, or even in a customer interaction area such as a forum. A simple link typically isn’t a problem. However, deep linking to other sites can be an issue.  Framing has also proven problematic. Framing links occurs when users see the linked site, but they see it in your frame within your advertisements.

Privacy

Protecting site users’ privacy is the single most important step you can take. Carefully draft your privacy policy with your business attorney to let users know what information is collected, how it will be used, and who will have access to it. Users should also have the ability to opt out.

Hire a Business Attorney

Having your site reviewed by a business attorney to spot any potential problems is a must. Contact the small business attorneys at Gehres Law for a free consultation to learn more.