If your business has a website, whether you use it for commercial purposes or otherwise, you’ll want to protect yourself, your website, and your company from malicious forces in the cybersphere. Keep reading to find out about two of the most important legal documents every website should have.
- minimize the website owner’s, and, in some cases, its content and service providers’, potential liability to site users;
- protect the intellectual property included on or accessed through the site (e.g. prohibit unauthorized reproduction of material contained on the site);
- prohibit illegal or undesirable user behavior, such as using the site for illegal purposes, spamming other users, introducing viruses, and posting illegal, infringing, or defamatory content;
- set forth dispute resolution provisions, including choice of law, prohibitions on class actions and arbitration provisions.
In the United States, there is no single governing privacy law. Instead numerous state and federal laws may apply, including, but not limited to, the following: the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA), the Cable Communications Policy Act of 1984, the Children’s Internet Protection Act of 2001 (updated in 2013), the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act of 1986, the Computer Security Act of 1997, the Consumer Credit Reporting Control Act, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and the California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA). Further, if your website collects personal data from residents of other countries, the laws of the that country may apply. Recently, the European Union enacted the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in Spring 2018, replacing the Data Protection Directive 95/46/ec as the primary law regulating how companies protect European Union citizens’ personal data.
Penalties for non-compliance of these laws include fines, injunctive relief (including shutting your website down), and, in some cases, criminal charges.
Continue reading about the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation Law (GDPR) in “The Steep Price of Data Collection is Skyrocketing, Unless You Get it Right”