TECH LAW

SEP 2010

The internet presents today’s savvy entrepreneur with a playground in which to execute innovative business ideas with little overheads, but a Gold Coast technology lawyer has warned that compliance lines are often blurred.

Edge Legal director Jamie White, says the economic downturn has led to an emergence of online companies as business owners seek to reduce operating costs, but many get caught out by not conducting research.

“Many people who have been retrenched or forced to close their businesses have turned to the internet to start a new business. Whatever the case may be, many of those people do not realise that the laws of the paper-based world also apply in the online environment,” says White.

“There is a real tendency for people to overlook legal issues when doing business online. This is mostly due to the absence of education relating to electronic commerce and the associated laws that apply. However, ignorance of the law is not a defence.”

White highlights trade practices law; privacy law; spam law; copyright law; and trademarks law as the key learning areas for prospective online business owners.

“Often, there are various legal issues that will be cited as a consequence of your online business practices and consequently, one common recommendation is that you display on your website specifically drafted legal documents,” he says.

“These documents usually include a terms of use document, privacy policy and a spam statement, which set out information such as your expectations with respect to the conduct of visitors to your website; intellectual property notices; legal disclaimers; and which laws will apply in the case of a dispute.”

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