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New company to provide online dating profiles. Looking for a lawyer

Los Angeles, CA |

My new company is looking to hire freelance writers to create online dating profiles for individuals. The writer would speak with the potential client about how they want their profile to appear. Then the writer would create the profile and ask if any revisions are needed. Is there any legal issues with this business model? Which type of lawyer is the right fit for this job?

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Attorney answers 7

Posted

Have you actually selected a business entity? If not, a business lawyer coul help with that. What is your concern with the writers? If it is related to your relationship with the writers I would lean toward an employment lawyer. Business and employment law have some areas of overlap so you could probably find an attorney who does both.

Posted

You may need a copyright attorney who has experience with work-for-hire agreements. Are you concerned about owning the content?

This answer is for informational purposes only. It is not intended as specific legal advice regarding your question. The answer could be different if all of the facts were known. This answer does not establish an attorney-client relationship.

Asker

Posted

The risk is more when the person talks to them over the phone if any legal issues I need to look out for? Or any way someone can file a lawsuit against me with this business model?

James Juo

James Juo

Posted

If you plan on recording the telephone conversations, you will need permission from both because California is a mutual consent state. You should consult with an attorney about the specific implementation of your business plan to determine if there are any other legal issues to consider.

Asker

Posted

I would not be recording the phone conversation. My concern is if the conversation went poorly as a result of the dating profile that was created for them. Or if a writer decides to contact these individuals again for another reason

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

Concern over writer performance and liability to customers is covered by a services contract with the user and/or liability insurance for your business. But, don't forget content ownership and copyright issues and privacy and publicity issues. Cal is a tricky area for those, so best you get some legal assistance.

Posted

I agree with the answers of the two attorneys who have responded thus far. I would add to their responses that you would benefit from the services of an attorney with experience in writing terms of use agreements and disclaimers for websites, and evaluating websites and related business models for legal compliance issues.

This answer is provided for informational purposes only, does not create an attorney-client relationship, and is not to be relied upon as legal advice or applied to specific situations. Legal advice is provided only upon execution of a written retainer agreement and after a comprehensive consultation in which all relevant facts are discussed and reviewed.

Posted

Generally speaking, In any issues involving the use of creative talent and the internet, if it were my company I would want a business and intellectual property attorney who understands eBusiness and Internet law. This is a growing area of the law in need of more skilled internet law practitioners.

This is not legal advice or a substitute for legal advice and may not be accurate. Answering this question does not create an attorney client relationship. This is general legal information only. Please do not rely on the contents herein.

Asker

Posted

I forgot to mention the writer would talk to the invidual over the phone about their dating profile. My concern is if the conversation went poorly as a result of the dating profile that was created for them. Or if a writer decides to contact these individuals again for another reason. My concern is how to avoid legal liability overall from setting up a business that creates dating profiles for people.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

With a services agreement that your customers sign and with liability insurance. An Internet lawyer with experience in social media can do this. An Entertainment attorney would likely also be competent to handle your issues. An, some copyright attorneys would be good at it.

Asker

Posted

Is the insurance you are suggesting called something else or is it called liability insurance? What publicity , copryight issues do you see? The only thing I can think of is to just use copyscape before they are provided the dating profile the writer has created. If you find issues beyond that let me know.

Posted

I would consider an intellectual property attorney who is familiar with copyrights, trademarks, writer agreements, and, a has experience working with startups in the technology and social networking space, to not only help you control the intellectual property writes vis a vis your freelance writers, but also to assist you with your agreements with web developers who will create your site.

In addition, "dating sites" have sometimes come into legal cross hairs by hooking up individuals with spotty backgrounds. Your revenue model(s) should also be considered. Whether your site vets users on some degree may be a legal issue. (see Match.com lawsuit link below).

So, in addition to your traditional intellectual property considerations in controlling the copyrights to the work freelancers do for you, a new media savvy attorney who understands privacy considerations, mobile and expansive website development agreement, niche social networking and related markets, and the legal and business affairs that are implicated from these activities can be of tremendous value to you.

Do you have a business and marketing plan?

This content is a discussion of legal issues and general information; it does not constitute legal advice and should not be used as such without seeking professional legal counsel. Reading the content does not create an attorney-client relationship.

Asker

Posted

Let me clarify. My busniess model is just creating online dating profiles for individuals. There would be a conversation with the prospective customer with the freelance writer over the phone about how their profile would like to be portrayed. From there the freelance writer would create a profile for them. My concern is legal liability if something between the freelance writer and individual go from. The writer contacts them for another reason later down the road. They are not happy with the profile from the interest that they get. Looking at this business model from all angles.

Gergana Hristova Miteva

Gergana Hristova Miteva

Posted

You may want to record these conversations because you would be running into privacy hell if you are not able to prove that you received permission to display this information online. Make sure you get a lawyer involved early on, there are a plethora of pitfalls with this project my colleagues have advised already.

Posted

You need a California Internet business attorney or Entertainment attorney or IP attorney.

You will want to three things to protect yourself, I think:
1) An services contract between you and the "freelance writer", which should include customer contract restrictions and conditions, work-for-hire provisions, copyright assignment provisions, non-compete provisions, and indemnification.
2) A services contract between you and the customer, including privacy and publicity provisions, conditions under which profiles will be posted, a release of liability, a warranty disclaimer, etc. ;
3) An LLC, Sub-S, or Sub-C business entity to insulate and protect your personal assets from being attached in any consumer suit; and
4) Liability insurance.

There will be numerous other issues relating to trademarks, copyrights, patents, etc. that also need to be addressed but which you seem to be ignoring due to a focus on what happens if one of your writers rapes a client or sells their ID or whatever is it that you are scared your writers might do.

See the attorney and you will be less stressed about this.

I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is at your sole risk. This is done without compensation as a free public service. I am licensed in IL, MO, TX and I am a Reg. Pat. Atty. so advice in any other jurisdiction is strictly general advice and should be confirmed with an attorney licensed in that jurisdiction.

Bruce E. Burdick

Bruce E. Burdick

Posted

I deliberately said three and listed four. The point is you don't know what you don't know. If you don't see someone who does know, you are going to miss an issue and that might make all the difference.

Asker

Posted

I noticed you mentioned both trademark and copyright issues. I understand I would need to check the writers work against copyscape before I gave it to the client. What are other trademark or copyright issues? Another concern of mine is when I pick the domain for my site for example onlinedatingprofile, onlinedatingprofilewriter dot com etc... How do I know I can use the domain without being sued for domain name infringement. What about if a person uses a profile that we create for them and the wrong type of people contact them? Then they have a bad actual face to face dating experience. How do i protect my liability against this?

Posted

I have worked with dating sites and my concern would be the business fall out if people knew the bios were ghost-written. People draw clues from how people tell things and not just the substance delivered, you are spending money to eliminate clues that might be valuable to your clients.

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