Reduce Your Legal Risk

The first thing we looked at was which country's law applies to the use of your website, and why it might be helpful to specify that in your terms and conditions.

The next thing we're looking at is ways to limit your liability.

Unless you let the world know otherwise, you are assumed to be responsible for everything that happens on and as a result of using your website. We're making a broad generalisation here. There are a load of legal technicalities that can change that position, but lets start with this simple premise:

You are responsible for what is on your website and what happens as a result of using your website.

Now I have, unfortunately, been directed to a website by a business colleague which just happened to have some malware attached. At the time, my virus protection software was out of date. Crash. System down for about a half day reloading and rebooting to get rid of the problem. Fortunately I do regular backups, so nothing much was lost. 

Potentially, I could take legal action against the owner of the website as a result of my half days lost productivity. Realistically, I wouldn't bother because the loss was not great and I can achieve more just getting on with things.

But what if that disruption happened at such a time that it resulted in $120,000 in lost revenue. Do you think I might be more motivated to explore my options against the owner of the website? Chances are that I would.

The thing is, the owner of that website had no idea about the malware infection and also didn't know what to do about fixing it. Effectively, they had no control over whether or not I visited their website, and if I did, what happened to my system as a result. There may be circumstances where you can 'disclaim' responsibility or limit your liability for things that happen when people visit your website. The same thing applies to links from your website.

Why wouldn't you take advantage of the opportunity to reduce the risks to your business?

So, have a think about what you want to protect and what your risks and opportunities are, then work out what steps you need to take.

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