July 2008 Article for Business to Business Magazine
by Rob Hassett
The five most common legal mistakes involving commercial websites are:
3. Third parties are able to post materials on the website and the company fails to post a “Copyright Policy” and file a designation of a representative to receive any complaints regarding copyright infringement with the U.S. Copyright Office. Properly posting such a policy helps to insulate the company from liability for the posting of infringing materials by third parties.
4. Failure to screen all photos of individuals posted on the website. Posting of a recognizable individual on a website without permission of that individual that is not posted for a newsworthy purpose, or other situation protected by the First Amendment freedom of speech clause, can result in liability.
5. Failure of the owner to register copyrights in the owner’s website. If ownership of the copyrights in the website are owned by the owner of the website, but the owner of the website does not register the copyrights in the U.S. Copyright Office, the owner may still register the copyrights after an infringement and sue to stop such copying and collect damages provable (it is very difficult to prove any) but may not recover what are called statutory damages (much easier to prove) or attorney fees.
Any business owner with a website should take steps to assure that the use of the website is not resulting in a violation of another person’s rights and is taking all steps to protect its own rights.
Rob Hassett is an attorney who practices in technology, entertainment and corporate law with Casey Gilson P.C. in Atlanta,Georgia.
This article provides general information only and does not constitute legal advice. Any reader should consult with his or her own attorney before making any decisions regarding legal matters.