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Do you need a permit or licence to run an internet buisness?

Silver Spring, MD |
Attorney answers 2


Absolutely! All businesses are regulated and must be registered in the State in which they are either operating or use as their headquarters. You must follow the same exact procedures as though the company had a physical location which customers could visit. Your registered address for such things as company bills and deliveries may be one of the places that you could use as the registered location for your company. As always, please contact a licensed attorney, who hopefully will offer you a free initial consultation. Good luck!


Whether a permit or license is needed for operating a business - whether Internet or a physical operation - will depend upon your state's requirements. Generally, if you need a license or permit for your real world business, you should probably assume you will need it for your Internet business. Additionally, there are Internet specific statutes that may not have any application in the physical world. For example, The Children's Online Privacy Protection Act of 1998 (COPPA) is a United States federal law that only applies to the online collection of personal information from children under 13 years of age. Another example of an Internet specific regulation is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) or the Federal Trade Communication's Red Flag Rules that apply to online endorsements. Another important consideration as to permits and licenses has to do with the fact that once you have an Internet business presence, you are now arguably doing business anywhere your website is accessed and, therefore, subject to additional laws and regulations outside your state's laws. To eliminate or reduce this risk, it is important to have a carefully drafted terms of use for your e-commerce site. For additional resources, I write about issues relevant to e-commerce and Internet businesses (see the link below). You should, however, address these issues and your concerns with a competent attorney.