Blog posts by legal area: internet law

Online advice: worth the risks?

Whether you are purchasing legal forms and templates, seeking a medical diagnosis, getting insider information when choosing a school or university, or soliciting the opinions of product aficionados on a prospective purchase, there are many ways to get guidance and advice online - but what are the risks for those providing this guidance and advice?

Cancellation conundrums: distance sales of goods and services

The Distance Selling Regulations contain an intricate set of rules concerning the cancellation, by consumers, of distance contracts for the supply of goods. A different set of rules concerns the cancellation of distance contracts for the supply of services. But nowhere in the Regulations is there any guidance on the cancellation of distance contracts for the supply of both goods and services.

Customer testimonials and the law

Testimonials are a good way to reassure potential customers that your business is genuine, and your products or services are well-regarded by existing customers. There are however a couple of legal issues you should bear in mind if you're thinking of collating and publishing testimonials on your website: first, don't make them up; and second, get consent to publish. In this post, I take a quick look at these issues and suggest some text for gaining formal consent.

Web partnership contracts involving content-based promotion

Partnerships are an important part of many website marketing strategies, particularly content-based partnerships. Through such partnerships, a website operator can access the anonymous traffic, registered users and marketing lists of others. Just as important, an operator can gain access to original and relevant content for his or her own audience.

Website design, contracts and designer credits

Many web designers include credits ("Designed by XYZ") as a matter of course on the websites that they create. Many web design contracts do not, however, cover the issue of credits. Whilst in some cases contractual clauses relating to credits may be overkill, in other cases they can be very useful indeed. This post examines the main issues: rights of paternity and contractual rights to include, remove and edit credits.

Troll hunting: forum abuse and the law

A troll is defined in the Urban Dictionary as "one who posts a deliberately provocative message to a newsgroup or message board with the intention of causing maximum disruption and argument". The etymology seems to be disputed. My preferred explanation is that the usage comes - via the Usenet group alt.folklore.urban - from fishing, where trolling is the practice of trailing a baited line behind a moving boat, as in "trolling for mackerel".

Writing an SEO contract

Success or failure in the search engine results pages (SERPs) can make or break a business. With serious money at stake, all SEO consultants and agencies need to be conscious of the legal risks that their work entails. One of the most important ways of managing those risks is through the use of a good contract. In this post, I look at those matters which are particular to SEO contracts.

Cookies, consents and browser settings

The UK ICO's last-minute revisions to its official guidance on the cookie laws focused on the possibility of "implied consent" for the use of cookies. This softening of the ICO's position was sensible, notwithstanding that the whole cookie law saga brings EU tech law into disrepute. There was, however, another option open to the ICO. They could have taken the position that consent could be indicated by browser settings.

Google, paid links and English prisons

Internet marketers disagree on the question of whether link buying is unethical. For some, link buying is a form of cheating that pollutes the search results; for others, it is an essential tool in an unfair online marketplace. Whether or not that link buying is unethical, it is usually agreed that it is legal. As a matter of English law, this is wrong. Some paid links are illegal.

6 ways to manage social media legal risks

The legal risks associated with running a social networking service are not just of academic interest. Examples of lawsuits abound. The UK's own Friends Reunited found itself on the wrong end of a defamation claim a full decade ago. More recently, during 2011, MySpace was accused of supplying personal information without the consent of users. Just two days ago, hard on the heels of Facebook's massively-hyped IPO, it was reported that the social networking giant was being sued in the US courts for a cool $15 billion over user tracking. In this short post, I'll outline 7 things you can do as a social networking site operator to help reduce these sorts of risks.

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