You should probably have that reviewed by an attorney. You can find a good lawyer on Findlaw. http://www.findlaw.com/. How long it takes might depend on the lawyer and how soon you need it.
[In accordance with the Avvo community guidelines, this communication does not constitute "legal advice", nor does it form an attorney-client relationship.]
This is a specialized and changing field and you want someone who understands the current state of privacy policies and regulations. You can learn a lot by reviewing existing policies and Ts&Cs from websites that are comparable, but you are not allowed to simply copy those. It's probably a good time to get counsel to help you with these and other issues. A lawyer who is experienced in this area will have some examples and it should not be too expensive. Better to invest the effort in getting it right up front than learning that you should have included something after the fact.
Absolutely. You will want legal attention on this as well as some of the other aspects, such as entity formation, trademark, etc.
If you are planning on using third-party user generated content, you will also want to register your contact with the US Copyright Office to make sure you qualify for the safe harbor under the DMCA.
I suggest that you consult with a lawyer in private and discuss your objectives in more detail. You can start by calling around to several for a free phone consultation, get some insights then pick the best fit to work with.
DISCLAIMER: this is not intended to be specific legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. No attorney-client relationship is formed with the law firm of Natoli-Lapin, LLC on the basis of this posting.
Are You Planning on Opening a New E-Commerce Website?
There is much you need to know as you begin your new business. I suggest you do not attempt to write your own legal policies. This is not where your training and background lie, and though you are probably as smart as an attorney, you do not have their experience.
Below is a checklist for legal issues I use for new e-commerce clients.
1. Business Model – Is your idea viable as a web based business?
2. Business entity - Are you going to be a C corp, a sub-S, an LLC or a sole proprietorship?
3. Terms of Service - This is your contract with your visitors and is the most important item for any e-commerce site. A little work here brings big dividends in the future.
5. FTC guidelines - The FTC has been regulating business advertising for almost a century. All of their advertising guidelines apply to e-commerce sites.
6. Domain Name issues? Is your name available. Can you create a Trademark?
7. Trademark - Do you have a brand name free from conflict? Should you start with just common law rights? Should you register the mark, and when?
8. Copyright - If it is on the web, it already belongs to somebody. Did you buy a license for the images you are using?
9. Do you need a DMCA policy?
10. Web Site security issues?
11. Do you need and have an EIN? You can get that for free.
12. Do you need an arbitration clause?
13. Do you have employees? - If so you need written policies regarding their authority and use of the internet.
14. Do you know the difference between a "browser wrap" and a "click wrap" and which do you need?
15. Are you abiding by the Child's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA)rules?
When I discuss this list with clients other issues arise. Finally, I always discuss with my clients their need for good accounting services. An accountant's advice as you start up can save you many dollars in tax that you might not save if you wait to speak to an accountant until your first tax return is due.
I hope this list will give you pause to think about those issues for which you might need to seek professional advice.
You may want to discuss your situation with a lawyer in more detail. Most lawyers on Avvo, including myself, offer a free phone consultation.
This post is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice specific to you. This general information is not a substitute for the advice of an attorney in your jurisdiction. The attorney client relationship is not established by this post.
E-commerce Sole proprietorship LLC (limited liability company) C-corporation Business contracts Business arbitration Small business regulations Business advertising regulations Business privacy laws Online business law Intellectual property Copyrights Trademarks Business Privacy law Arbitration Internet law Business compliance Consumer protection Copyright infringement Tax return Personal information