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Do I need approval to list businesses on my website?

Los Angeles, CA |

I have a directory website for businesses which is similiar to yellow pages. Do I need consent from the business owner to list their company on my website? It's free publicity for them. The information I would be posting would be their company info such as address and special offers.

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Reporting facts, such as the existance and location of businesses should not cause you any problems or require the prior consent of business who exist and do business at the addresses you indicate.

The above is general legal and business analysis. It is not "legal advise" but analysis, and different lawyers may analyse this matter differently, especially if there are additional facts not reflected in the question. I am not your attorney until retained by a written retainer agreement signed by both of us. I am only licensed in California. See also terms and conditions item 9, incorporated as if it was reprinted here.

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If you are a gathering house like Lexis Nexis you are compiling data that is already advertised into a new format, you have a duty to accurately report information. You are not required to get permission from the owner's of the information you are gathering. It may be a professional courtesy if you are going to display another businesses information on a website, to inform or give the business the ability to opt out. If you have a website and want to link to another website, solicit donations for a charity or give the impression that you are affiliated with another business, you should form a relationship with that business that identifies each parties performance and clarifies expectations.

This information is general and will change according to your facts. While this information may apply to your situation, without more facts I can not encourage you to rely on this information. I am not your attorney. No attorney client relationship exists. You should hire an attorney for your specific business matters.

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One area which could lead down the path of trouble is using company logos/trademarks. I would suggest not including a company logo/trademark in your listing without getting the owner's approval first.

There are too many law firms that make their money hunting down unauthorized use of intellectual property to wade into these waters without risking legal trouble.

Just my humble two cents....

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