Make your website legal

by Desmond Menz posted in Website and Blog Essentials


Have you noticed that some websites (or blog sites) have a comprehensive set of Terms of Service, Disclaimer, Disclosure, and Compliance statements, and others have almost nothing?

The owners of those sites with incomplete or no statements run a very high risk of running foul of the law - whatever the country it is - and of being sued by a disgruntled, aggrieved, or vexatious complainant. Just as in the offline world, there are vexatious and nuisance complainants who will sue at the drop of a hat.

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Those running a Wordpress site or any other blog platform can not rely on plugins to protect their sites or themselves. They will need something extra.

In the US, there are specific compliances and statements that must be made, and if you look at the footer of my website, they are all there. How did I make myself and my website as safe as could be?


In March of this year (2012) I received an email from Jeremy Gislason of Surefirewealth fame. I've been on Jeremy's list for at least 6 years. When I read that email it was very different to what I usually receive from him - after all, he is an Internet Marketer, and mostly I would get information about products to help me in my business. 

But this email was about a topic that I really had not given sufficient attention to, and it jolted me into action. To complicate things a bit I was travelling the outback of Australia (my country), and internet access was intermittent at best for me to make changes to my site. (That's another story I'll be writing about in the near future).


Website Legal Protection  

Jeremy's recommendation was to look at US Attorney J. Scott Talbot's latest WSO (Warrior Special Offer) about total website legal compliance. It was a big wake-up call for me because I suddenly realised that my business protection system was flawed and my site was not conforming totally with necessary requirements. 

Compliance

Such requirements involve US legislation, specifically DMCA ("Digital Millenium Copyright Act") statement, and FTC (Federal Trade Commission) compliance statement. Requirements also include Social Media Disclosure, Terms of Service, Conditions of Use, Privacy Policy, Anti-Spam Policy, and a Disclaimer.

And then there's compliance with Google's relatively new (as of March 1, 2012) Privacy Policy and Terms Of Service.

This is a big list, and I was "underdone" like a part-cooked steak!

So, immediately I purchased the pack of "Cut and Paste Website Legal Forms". There they all are in my footer. 

Sure, I had to fill in my business name and company name in the appropriate areas, and read them from top to bottom and make minor alterations, but that was insignificant compared to the potential pain of losing my online livelihood.

What I had done at my website previously was to take a mish-mash of forms from here and there (taken legally) but this did not solve the problem of full compliance and transparency and to make my website what I term ... "legal ready". 

In the offline world of business that I worked in as a self-employed consultant, I had to comply with the law in many areas and that included all sorts of insurances, indemnities, taxation reporting, company regulatory reporting, and so on.

So, when I realised that my website statements were not up to the mark and not up to the standard that I've always strived for, there was no hesitation in enhancing compliance by using "Cut and Paste Website Legal Forms". 

Taking all the necessary actions applies whether you trade online in your own country or beyond your national borders. Remember, the Internet has no borders. It's absolutely important that your website contaiuns information that protects your business interests.


What Should You Do About Protecting Your Online Business?

I suggest that you assess what you have in terms of appropriate statements to protect yourself, your website or blog, and your business. This is critical to the long-term sustainability of your online business. Don't let it fail because of a slip-up or just being lax. Making your site "legal ready" is no different than taking insurances out for your car, home, your life.

Then make a calculated decision to make your site as compliant as possible. 

I've seen a few blog sites recently where there are no - yes, NIL - compliance statements, no disclaimers, no terms of service, nothing at all. This is a recipe for disaster for the owners of the sites.

At J. Scott Talbot's site Lawyer2Warrior, he said ... "Non-US IM'ers doing ANY business in the U.S. should protect their sites ..." If you sell ebooks and any other digital product in the U.S. then take heed of this advice.

The operative word is "should", not "must", but I'd suggest that there's no choice. Don't delay, do it now!

Go to ... Cut and Paste Website Legal Forms

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What have you done about your website statements?

What have you done to protect your online assets? Is your site fully compliant? Have you installed "Disclosure" and "Privacy Policy" statements? Anti-spam statement?

Let's get the conversation going on this vital issue. Make your comments known below. And I hope that what I've presented here is helpful to as many people as possible.



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