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Online business and the legal concerns.




Here are simple but yet technical steps to cover when venturing into the online jungle as an entrepreneur.

  1. Consider your URL

As you get excited and enthusiastic about owning your own website and how it’ll bear creative designs and features. One needs to step back and ponder about registering a URL as step number one. This is step is easy but a good number of entrepreneurs get it wrong by forgetting to do their homework.


  1. Investigations

You need to investigate if there are multiple URL names used out there and yet you had plans of incorporating the same name. Also check if your proposed name or / and logo that your developer intend to adopt is already registered. Lastly investigate if the proposed name or logo that developers intend to adopt can be protected through trademark registration.

You wouldn’t want to invest so much of your precious time in the setting up of a website and a brand then only to be shocked when you are through with the exercise that it was all in vain since someone else is using the same name. Or even worse, you’re infringing their trademark. Then you’d be forced to start the process all over again from square one. Another issue is that you wouldn’t want to discover much later after coming up with a logo and a brand that you cannot have it protected with a trademark!

You need to conduct a couple of searches. These searches are; the organisations and business names search and the trademark search. This marks the essence of your investigation.

  1. Who has 100% ownership rights to your website?

Not unless you will be developing your website all by yourself, you’ll need to engage a website developer by having a web development contract that will legally bind and govern the relationship between the two of you.

It is crucial that you comb through the agreement and thoroughly understand it; if possible by all means have a lawyer draft it for you. This will ensure that the agreement is fashioned in a way that safeguards your interests.

Caution should be employed when relying on your developer to design the contract. A keen eye should cast its sights on the copyright clause. Some website developers can be crafty while others unscrupulous and draft a contract that retains the website under their control even upon settling their bills. The contract should expressly communicate your full ownership upon its completion!

Acquire a warranty from your web developer that their work product does not infringe on anyone else’s copyright. Unscrupulous developers can put you in hot soup if they copied the code from another developer.

Your developer should provide indemnity against any liabilities that might befall you accruing from a breach of the warranty.

4.     Terms and conditions (T&Cs)

Though your website won’t sell anything, it is prudent to set out terms and conditions that govern its use. T&Cs protects your business from suits.

If your website provides goods or services, your T&Cs should also set out your refund and cancellation policies.

Last but not least, your website T&Cs should contain a disclaimer that conveys the limitations of a company’s liability for bearing the information.

Forms of liability that a company may face include but are not limited to; defamation, copyright infringement and breach of privacy.

5.     What about my Visitors’ Privacy?

Your website should have a privacy policy stating how it will respect the privacy of its visitors. Visitors shall be informed of the level of privacy they are entitled to whilst using your website.

6.     Dealing with online employees

As an employer, you’d require to provide your staff with an internet use policy. It’ll set out their duties which your employees bear when using company internet.

The policy empowers your business to use information controls and filters on company systems to avoid improper internet use.


Finally, the policy should consist of salient features such as: prohibited use, monitoring and penalties.

Having crossed the aforementioned legal issues on your checklist, you are now set to make your online dollars.


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