What Is and Isn't Legal to Use on a Web Site?
Is it legal to set up links to a Web site without asking? Can I copy information from a Web site and use it again? And who owns the design of a Web site?
Links: Yes, it is legal to set up a Web site and have that site link to other sites without permission. A link is not something that is considered to be protected by copyright law.
Information ownership: Most often, the company that owns the Web site owns the information contained on that site, but not always. For example, AllBusiness owns what you are reading right now and you cannot legally reproduce it without their permission. Other Web sites allow the writer of material on the site to maintain the copyright, and thus the right to republish the material.
Copying information: Most information that you see on most sites is protected by copyright law and cannot be published again without the permission of the holder of the copyright. Some information you read may be part of the public domain and can be used again, but the nuances in copyright law are extremely detailed.
Design: The design is likely to be owned by the site, although it is conceivable that the designer retained ownership of the design. Again, permission would be needed to use a design.
To protect oneself from the personal and business liability of lawsuits, a business must have established a comprehensive general business policy in place. It must also have a well-drafted company policy and procedures, such as an employee manual. When litigation is being anticipated, an employer or business owner should engage the services of a business litigator.
Business litigators are business lawyers who handle cases (Those who handle contracts and corporate matters are called transactional lawyers). A business litigator has the skills and experience in handling the demands of business lawsuits.
Litigation has its advantages: Monetary gain Monetary disputes are the common causes of business lawsuits. Through litigation, it is possible to recover monetary awards through compensatory and punitive damages.
Injunctive relief Getting an injunction against a business competitor or a former employee who is using a trade secret will help you a lot.
Strategic considerations If you are in a position of strength, a lawsuit is more likely a good option for you. You have to consider the consequences of your decision for the future of your business.
Preparing for Litigation
Business litigation is never an easy undertaking. It entails long preparation, which begins with the drafting of company policies as a preventive measure against lawsuits.
Having insurance policy in place to answer for claims and to indemnify you when the need arises is part of your protection against lawsuits.
Establishing a corporate compliance program to help manage business operation is a positive step toward lessening potential liability exposure.