Legal Site Audit | Law&Trust International
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Digital law is continuously changing, and depending on these changes, mechanisms of interaction between site owners and their users change. Unfortunately,  many companies do not pay enough attention to aspects of legal risk management about their websites nowadays. However, as soon as you post information to the network, anyone can see it, including your competitors, from whom you can expect various, including unethical, actions.

To minimize the risk of liability for copyright, personal data law, Internet commerce and other potentially applicable laws, it is necessary first to conduct a legal audit of the website. It can be done both at the time of launch and after the start of the site.

A comprehensive legal audit of the site includes checking your user agreements, privacy policy, cookie policy, affiliate programs, texts for various legal risks, including risks associated with copyright infringement. Legal web site auditing is a reasonable step to prevent potential litigation and protect your intellectual property.

WEBSITE AUDIT

To some extent, you need to take into account the laws of each jurisdiction where you operate. However, as with everything related to the Internet, the specific legal standards for websites have not yet been worked out, and each case must be analyzed separately depending on the circumstances of the case. In particular, when auditing a website, it is necessary to pay close attention to the following questions:

1. Have you secured ownership of your website?

  • If an employee creates your site during regular business hours and using your equipment, the website will be treated as belonging to your company.

  • If an external developer creates the website, then the copyright for such a site will belong to such an external developer, unless otherwise provided by the service agreement. Thus, it is necessary to pay close attention to the design documentation for the website with its developer.

2. Have measures been taken to protect alternative domain names?

  • Typically, website creators register one domain, for example, website.com. It should also take into account other similar domain names, or identical names in another domain zone, such as .org, .net, .biz. It will allow you to avoid situations where another company, say your competitor, will use a similar domain and potentially pull your clients to itself.

3. Does the site contain terms of use and privacy policy?

  • 3.1. The terms of use of the website (Terms and Conditions or Terms of Use) are the primary document that regulates and regulates the relationship between you and the user, establishes rights and obligations, as well as responsibility for the violation of their duties. Properly created Terms of Use on the website can help you significantly reduce your legal risks.

  • 3.2. Privacy Policy is a legal document that reveals the ways your company collects, uses, discloses and manages the personal data of a visitor or client, as well as options available to a visitor or client in connection with the refusal to disclose their information.

  • The privacy policy must comply with the applicable personal data protection legislation. The privacy policy should be easily accessible, not "hidden" among the many links on your site. Also, the site visitor should get the instruction about whom to contact with any questions about your use of his data.

4. Are your intellectual property items adequately protected and do you violate the rights of third parties themselves?

  • 4.1. Trademark

    Simple registration of a domain address (in our case website.com) does not automatically give your company the right to use a trademark or service mark.

    Before you start working with a website aimed at selling any goods/services, it is recommended to register the necessary trademarks that will be consonant with the domain name (for example, it is possible to register a text trademark "Website" and use Website.com as a domain to provide services).

    If you use other people's trademarks on your website, it is highly recommended to obtain written permission from the copyright holder, since the absence of such agreements is fraught with lawsuits and subsequent financial costs.

  • 4.2. Copyright Use 

    sing different content on your site (for example, text, photos, drawings, graphics), you need to find out, is your company or its employees created the materials.

    Similar to the site, if an employee creates the content during working hours, then it will most likely belong to your company. However, if an external contractor creates it, then an agreement must be concluded on the transfer of ownership of such content to your company.

    If your website contains any third-party content, you need to make sure that such third-party content is permissible. For example, the information is already in public access or is in the public domain, or published as fair use, or copyright at all do not protect the publication, or there is a consent of the copyright holder to use the material).

In conclusion, it is always better to consult a lawyer and ask him to audit your website, including checking or developing a Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. Simply copying such documents from other sites is a recipe for future problems.

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