Building and making your website live is similar to unlocking the doors of a brick-and-mortar store. But don’t let that lull you into sluggishness; otherwise, your business may end up ignoring some legal website issues. The legal aspect may not be the first thing on your radar when building a website.
This makes protecting your website legally a daunting task.
But, with cybercriminals being invisible and extremely fast, protecting a website is no longer limited to companies like Amazon, Facebook, or Sony.
Your website is the first place of interaction with a customer and, as a result, one of the most important aspects. But your website can expose your company to various risks like data privacy risk, copyright infringement, and risk of liability, to name a few.
In this article, we will discuss six steps to legally protect your website and make it a place where your customers keep coming back without risking their privacy.
6 Steps to Protect your Company’s Website Legally
These six steps will ensure your website is protected legally, and you don’t have to face any lawsuit.
The ever-rising instances of data breaches have resulted in data privacy laws like Consumer Data Protection Act (CDPR).
While violating other similar laws as GDPR and CCPA have already cost companies billions of dollars, it makes sense to comply with the newest law in the data privacy kitty.
- Copyright your website
Your company’s website is a valuable asset, probably worth hundreds of dollars when you start your business. Its value increases with time, the traffic you generate and SERP ranking it receives.
So, it’s important to protect your website from people looking to steal your website design or layout. A unique and user-friendly website can place your company on top of the minds of your potential customers.
That’s why businesses worldwide want to copyright a website to prevent competing companies from using or borrowing any of your ideas or designs.
Though you cannot copyright your website’s domain name, you can apply for copyright for texts, photographs, videos, illustrations, or artwork that you create.
To ensure a government organization accepts your copyright application, use images you clicked or paid someone to click or downloaded from free resources like Pexels or
Unsplash. If you use images of your employees, clients, or customers, make them sign a release form before uploading images on your website.
Why copyright your website? Having a license to use the text, images and videos can strengthen your copyright application and prevent lawsuits against copyright infringement.
- Protect your intellectual property
To protect yourself from competitors who like to copy your idea, text, or design, use symbols of trademark and copyrights on your website. You can use the © symbol, current year, and business name to tell visitors that you own everything on your website.
If you have created a logo, slogan, jingle, or other branding symbols, use the trademark symbol ® next to it. However, use this symbol only when you register a trademark with a government or federal agency. If you’re thinking about trademark registration, use the TM symbol. Both convey the same meaning; the only difference is Federal registration.
Your intellectual property is a corporate asset, and you must do everything to protect it legally.
Why protect your intellectual property? Intellectual property can constitute up to 80% of a business’s value today. Protecting it is more important than ever because damages related to intellectual property can range from a few dollars to several million.
- Include a Terms and Conditions page
The Terms and Conditions page on your website is probably the least clicked and visited web page. But the importance it holds can make you ignore the number of clicks this page receives.
While it may not be necessary for many countries, adding it to your website will only add an extra layer of protection.
Including a Terms and Conditions page is helpful when you want to limit your responsibilities if a customer files a lawsuit. It acts as a legally binding contract between you and your users.
The page defines a set of rules and regulations a user must follow to access and use your website. Under this page, you can inform users of circumstances under which their account will be terminated or deleted. Also, many companies with their Terms and Conditions page notifies users that they cannot be held responsible for any errors presented in their content.
Why include a Terms and Condition page? It limits your liability and reduces lawsuits from jeopardizing your business.
- Protect your website from cybercriminals
Another way to protect your website from cybercriminals and hackers is storing passwords and urging your customers to keep strong passwords to prevent potential data breaches. You may face a legal battle if cybercriminals manage to get hold of your customer’s data or account details.
So, wherever possible, opt for two-factor authentication and urge your customers not to share their passwords or have the same password for different websites.
Take help from professionals to understand the loopholes in your website or network security to make your business an easy target for hackers. Look for ways to limit or restrict access to your customer’s data on your website.
Why protect your website from cybercriminals? With a hacker or cybercriminal attack
happening every 39 seconds, there is a growing need to protect your website from such attacks and threats.
- Minimize user-generated content
In a digitally connected world, where user-generated content is everything, minimizing UGC usage is excellent to stay within the legal boundaries. While a UGC adds a new level of engagement and builds credibility about your brand, it can backfire when you use it on your website.
It opens up a myriad of risks and puts the credibility of your website at risk.
For example, what will happen if the UGC content posted on your website isn’t original? Or what if the statement is defamatory? Sharing unlawful and spiteful content on your website will only attract hefty penalties and lawsuits. A competitor who a customer defames on your website may file a defamation lawsuit.
With tracking of UGC content on your website nearly impossible, it’s best to avoid it on your website. Though you can keep a check on plagiarism to some extent, you must ask your visitors or customers to agree to the Terms and Conditions before submitting a UGC on your website.
In your Terms and Conditions or policy page, mention that you’re not responsible for the content that your customer’s post and forbid your customers from using defamatory language.
Why minimize the use of UGC? Parents of a teenage girl sued Virgin Mobile for sharing a UGC photo and posting it under the creative commons license.
Fulfill your website’s legal requirement today!
In a quest and excitement to fulfill your website’s legal requirement, don’t rush things and end up overlooking the legal steps you have to take to protect your website.
When creating or launching your website, getting into a lawsuit because of your website may be the last thing that strikes your mind. But, with hackers becoming more and more invasive and using different technologies to access customer’s data, it’s always better to be prepared than caught off guard.
While protecting your website may seem like an uphill battle, it’s a necessity that you just cannot think of overlooking.
So, leave no stone unturned because the cost of overlooking website protection is likely to be much more than the cost of implementing these steps.
We hope these steps will help you better prepare for legal bottlenecks that come knocking on your website.
Which of these steps are you planning to use to protect your website legally? Do share your thoughts with us.