Annual Legal Checkup for Web Sites and Services

With the new year, you should review your web sites and offerings to see if they need any updates on the legal side.

Consider this 6 point list.  These are the most common updates I see, not a complete list.  Your business may need more.

  • Updating the site’s copyright notice to include the new year, if you are creating new content this year.  If you continue to publish content from prior years, you’ll want to include those prior years too.  For example, you might update “Copyright © 2006-2008 YourCompanyName, Inc.” to “Copyright © 2006-2009 YourCompanyName, Inc.”
  • Revising your site’s terms of use to reflect any changes in your offerings, terms, conditions and pricing.
  • Updating your privacy policy to reflect any new data collected or changes in your privacy practices, such as using cookies or web beacons.
  • If your site includes user generated content, you may want to register your company as a designated agent with the U.S. Copyright Office per the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA).  See my previous posting on Business Tips for Providers of User-generated Content.
  • If you are planning to use new distribution channels, such as an affiliate program, you should start considering what rights and support you’ll need to provide to your new channels.  For example, you may need separate legal documents, policies and web pages to support them.
  • Think about whether you need to upgrade your insurance.  For example, if your business has changed, you may need to raise your policy limits, or even consider obtaining media liability insurance, errors & omissions insurance or umbrella coverage.  If your company plans to work with large corporations, keep in mind that large companies often require smaller partners to hold insurance policies, to reduce the risk of claims against the large company’s “deep pockets.”  Speak to a good commercial insurance agent to get a better understanding of the policy coverages and costs.

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