Legal Tips for Business Websites

/ Guest Post By Kate Ashmor from Ashmor Legal

Having an effective website is critical for every business. But it can be easy to get caught up in design and content, without having regard to important legal issues. 

Here are three legal tips for business websites: 

1. Ensure the ‘legals’ are in place. 

Your website should contain at least a basic privacy policy, along with terms and conditions. Things like how your handle returns and complaints, and limiting your legal liability under consumer law, should be covered in your terms and conditions. Copying and pasting from a competitor is risky: you could be signing up to obligations you don’t want, and failing to cover yourself against certain risks. Invest in tailored legal advice. 

2. Don’t be misleading and deceptive. 

Be careful that you don’t make any untrue claims on your website: you could be open to prosecution for misleading and deceptive conduct, or under other consumer protection laws. Get a lawyer to read through the text of your website and check that the language is not potentially defamatory or otherwise problematic. 


3. Collecting Information / newsletter registration

Every business is subject to the spam legislation and trade practices/fair trading laws. This means that it’s important to clearly communicate to potential email subscribers what their information will be used for. 
I recommend having a line right next to the sign-up box/page; something like “We will never spam you and we won’t sell or give away your personal information to anyone”. 
 

4. Protect your intellectual property. 

Registering a business name, a URL address and social media accounts are not enough to protect your brand from misuse. Trade mark registration is the best way you can enforce your rights as a commercial brand owner. To be registrable as a trade mark, your business/product name must be distinctive and not easily confused with other trade marks – the more original the name, the better. Copyright protection automatically exists when you create an original work (not an idea), but enforcing a breach of copyright is much more expensive and complicated than enforcing a trade mark breach. Patent and design protection may also be desirable, but to be effective these must be obtained before your business idea becomes public knowledge.


Kate Ashmor is the principal of her own Caulfield-based law firm, Ashmor Legal, focusing on conveyancing, wills, powers of attorney, trade marks and website legals. 

www.ashmorlegal.com.au

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ashmorlegal

Twitter: https://twitter.com/KateAshmor

Meirav Dulberg