Do I Need Legal Protection for My Website?
~ by Cate Cole ~
Does your website need legal protection? The short answer is YES!
I always say to people, if the business were bricks and mortar, it would be the shopfront. And, just like any stores, there are always boundaries or rules about the space.
Unlike buildings, it’s hard to control the “entry”, but we can set down guidelines about how visitors to your website use the space. This is done with a “Website Terms and Conditions”, which is basically a contract between you and your website visitors so they are put on notice about the rules of the website.
What do website documents cover?
They can cover whatever you want, but usually they cover:
1. Website content – This is written to alert website visitors to your copyright and ownership of your content.
2. Disclaimers – Explain to visitors that your website is information and the limits of your expertise.
3. Other legal stuff – Like age of visitors (over 18 years) and other legal requirements.
4. Privacy – In many countries like the United States of America, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom, personal information is strongly protected and governments are pretty strict about it. For instance, if you don’t have these protections and someone reports you to your host, your website could be taken down until you sort out all the formalities. Most websites collect all sorts of information, including:
- Cookies and tracking information in order to remember who you are, plus any settings you choose
- User Agent, which tells the website what browser and operating system you are using
- Browser Fingerprinting, which is similar to user agent, but goes more in-depth, such as fonts you’re using and things that make your browser unique
- Email addresses
- Other personal information
All this data collection is why you need to remind people about the privacy choices.
All the legal documents can be placed tastefully and subtly (just not hidden) on your your website. So we are informing our visitors on the website what we are doing so they can choose to stay or go.
For example, to see how they are placed on my site, go to sisterinlaw.com.au and scroll down to the bottom to check it out.
Dr. Cate Cole is a lawyer, mother, wife, and entrepreneur. She runs a business called Sister in Law, which provides legal templates for any business wherever you are in the world. She believes your legal documents reflect your integrity by aligning with your purpose, mission, vision, and values.