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.

Selling online and the law - part 4 - information disclosure

An important part of legal compliance for online sellers is the provision of certain information to users and customers. This post seeks to list all of the main categories of information that need to be disclosed on the seller's website. There's no way to disguise the nature of this post: it's a list. A long list, and arguably a boring one. If you're new to ecommerce, and innocent of the nature of modern - especially EU-derived - regulatory regimes, you might be unpleasantly surprised by its length.

Software development agreements: a checklist

Drafting a software development agreement? Then check here to see if you've missed anything. This checklist is designed to help those new to software development agreements ensure that they have considered the principal issues that a typical agreement should cover. It also provides a little guidance as to the different approaches to some of the the issues.

Identifying the parties to a contract

The first thing I learnt as a trainee lawyer is that the parties to a contract should be properly and unambiguously identified. I spent the next few years learning that non-lawyers routinely elide this principle - to the benefit of no-one, except lawyers. If you don't properly identify the parties to the contract, who can enforce it? And against whom can it be enforced?

How to write a delivery policy

From the perspective of the customer, the delivery policy may be the most important legal document on a website. It should answer questions that are of keen interest to all customers: by what means will my goods be delivered? When will they be delivered? Do I have to sign for delivery? Will I have to take a day off work? And how much will it all cost? Accordingly, if you're selling goods through a website, you should publish a delivery policy of some kind.

5 contract negotiation tactics to avoid

The success of most contract negotiation processes can be measured by: the quality of the resulting contract, in terms of faithfulness to the parties' intentions, proportionality, certainty and clarity; the length of the process and the costs incurred during the process; and the resulting attitudes of each party with respect to the contractual documentation and, more importantly, each other. Although not every contractual negotiation can be measured against these principles - for instance, dispute settlement agreements are rarely going to lead to mutual respect - they hold good for most.

New wedding photography contract template

I've spent much of today working on a new wedding photographer contract. This is an adapted version of our existing standard terms and conditions for photographers. There are quite a few features of wedding photography documents that differentiate them from other kinds of photography contract. Having been through the adaptation process, I would recommend that any wedding photographer not using a contract specifically adapted for weddings should be thinking about doing so.

Sellling online and the law - part 3 - product descriptions

Product descriptions and photographs are among the more important aspects of a typical online sales strategy. Descriptions should be clear, informative and fresh; photos should be properly exposed and focused, and large enough enough to show off the products to best effect. But also, descriptions and photos must be legal.

Selling online and the law - part 2 - regulation of products

If you are selling online, you need to ensure that the products you are selling are legal. Some types of product - nuclear warheads, etc - are clearly illegal; others are potentially legal, subject to compliance with special regulations. Pharmaceuticals, food and toys fall into this category. Then there's a residual category of products, not given any special treatment, but nonetheless subject to the general law on product safety and quality.


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