Legal Issues Regarding Your Website
Resources and help regarding legal issues related to websites.


Blogger Disclosures

  • Posted By: RankRaiser
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Even if you’re mostly occupied with designing websites, you should be aware of FTCs guidelines about disclosing material connections (like affiliate links) for your own site, or other sites and blogs you visit. These disclosure guides aren’t specifically written for bloggers, but apply to anyone who implements online advertising. As the internet is growing out of its baby stage, laws and guidelines have been created or adapted to accommodate and include new technologies. Following are a few files and guides the FTC (a consumer protection agency) has issued on the topic:

FTC’s Q&A Guide

Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising (PDF). These Guides offer more than 35 examples of how they apply in practical settings.

FTC’s Guide about Online Advertising (PDF)

“The Guides address the application of Section 5 of the FTC Act (15 U.S.C. 45) to the use of endorsements and testimonials in advertising. The Guides provide the basis for voluntary compliance with the law by advertisers and endorsers. Practices inconsistent with these Guides may result in corrective action by the Commission under Section 5 if, after investigation, the Commission has reason to believe that the practices fall within the scope of conduct declared unlawful by the statute.”

What’s an endorsement?

“Endorsement means any advertising message (including verbal statements, demonstrations, or depictions of the name, signature, likeness or other identifying personal characteristics of an individual or the name or seal of an organization) that consumers are likely to believe reflects the opinions, beliefs, findings, or experiences of a party other than the sponsoring advertiser, even if the views expressed by that party are identical to those of the sponsoring advertiser. The party whose opinions, beliefs, findings, or experience the message appears to reflect will be called the endorser and may be an individual, group, or institution.”

What about testimonials?
“The Commission intends to treat endorsements and testimonials identically in the context of its enforcement of the Federal Trade Commission Act and for purposes of this part.”

Copyright In Simple Terms

  • Posted By: RankRaiser
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If you need quick information on US copyrights and what they mean for your website or web business, read “10 Big Myths About Copyright Explained” at Templeton’s website. You’ll get a quick rundown on when something is considered copyrighted, what’s considered fair use, the idea of public domain, creating work based on another’s work and about quoting text from another site. The site also has info on the basics of copyright. For the ‘full’ version of copyrights information, visit the government site at copyright.gov.

Digital Media Law

  • Posted By: RankRaiser
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Interested in what’s going with copyright laws, gaming laws and the first amendment when it comes to digital media and the internet? The Digital Media Lawyer Blog by David D. Johnson, a digital media lawyer, offers a wealth of articles on current and past lawsuits and other news and updates on internet and e-commerce law. Remember the news about gruesome photos of a dead girl being posted on the internet, or about a student putting up a defamatory MySpace page of his school’s principal? Here you can follow along and find out what the courts have decided. You’ll also find cases and news on the DMCA, internet gaming, cybersquatting, data security, internet decency and defamation and more.

Have You Received A Cease and Desist Notice?

  • Posted By: RankRaiser
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>> If you’ve received a notice from Getty Images, read this thread on WebHostingTalk.com and this article and comments on nctritech.com.

Have you received a cease and desist notice asking you to take down content from your website, or stop engaging in an activity? Before you take action, inform yourself about your online rights at ChillingEffects.org. Chilling Effects aims to help you understand the protections that the First Amendment and intellectual property laws give to your online activities. While there are of course lawful claims, it seems that some individuals and corporations are using intellectual property and other laws to attempt to silence legitimate online activity for various reasons.

The website offers explanations of the law for people whose websites deal with topics such as Fan Fiction, Copyright, Domain Names and Trademarks, Anonymous Speech, and Defamation. It is a joint project of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley, University of San Francisco, University of Maine, George Washington School of Law, and Santa Clara University School of Law clinics. It allows you to submit your materials you have received (with personal info removed) which will then be posted on the site along with comments about its legal implications.