- Recognize and Respect Intellectual Property Rights. On your website, you will need to identify and protect your intellectual property rights. The design and content of your website may be subject to copyright laws while your company logo and taglines might also be protectable under trademark laws. Work with an attorney to register your intellectual property and to place appropriate notices on your site to make others aware of your ownership rights. You may also want to include language in your terms of service affirming your ownership rights and requiring your written consent for any use of your protected materials.
- Address Online Conduct Issues. Interacting with your customers online may be a great way to market your site and to generate customer sales. However, in the anonymous world of the Internet, some people may use your forum in ways that tarnish your company’s reputation or violate the legal rights of third parties. If your site hosts discussion boards or interactive blogs, you will need to create conduct policies for those participating on your interactive site as well as to help create a safe harbor from liability for your business under federal law. Your behavioral policy should address a broad range of issues, including showing respect to other customers and your business by not posting defamatory, offensive, or obscene materials. In addition, your terms should not tolerate user conduct that violates intellectual property laws in online postings. For example, you may have a user who regularly posts copyrighted materials, such as articles or photos, on your online forum without appropriate permission. Your behavioral code should clearly state penalties for breaching your site’s rules, such as the loss of access to your discussion board or social media page, especially for repeat offenders. You should also disclaim all responsibility for what others post on your site and assist third parties who may legitimately request the removal of legally-protected materials posted on your site.