Website Legal Review
Your company’s website is more than a marketing tool. It is not only a potential customer’s first point of contact with your company, but it is also a potential source of liability. If your company or organization has a website, you should ensure that your website complies with all applicable state and federal (and in certain instances, international) laws and regulations. For regulated industries, such as the insurance or financial services industries, those legal requirements are even more numerous and restrictive. If your company displays its trademarks or makes available copyrighted material to its customers on your website, you should ensure that you are using the correct legal notices and properly permitting such access. When designing or updating your company’s website, you should not only consult a website developer, but you should consult an attorney to make sure that your website complies with applicable law and protects your company’s assets.
Nelson Mullins has experience in performing reviews of company’s websites. In the course of such reviews, we analyze the following aspects of your company’s website and business:
Privacy Statement: Review the activity at the website carefully to determine whether more than the standard privacy statement is needed or develop one if no such statement is present.
Record Retention: Determine who in your IT department will be responsible for establishing and maintaining the website, including maintaining the various versions of the pages for record retention purposes.
Applications for Products and other Point of Sale Issues: For regulated products, confirm that online presentation of each state-approved form has same look and feel as the form filed and approved by each of the states, including font size, colors, and form numbers.
Intellectual Property: Confirm that all of the materials and information to be used or displayed at the website are owned by your company or otherwise licensed by you for use at the website. For materials not owned by your company, confirm that the use at the website is permitted under a license. Confirm also that your company’s intellectual property rights are adequately protected and recognized, including the proper use of copyright, trademark, and service mark legends.
Electronic Signatures and Delivery: If applicable, confirm that your online contracting processes and electronic delivery of applicable consumer disclosures comply with applicable electronic signature and electronic delivery laws.
Sweepstakes or Contests: Sweepstakes or contests on your website will be reviewed to ensure that they comply with applicable federal and state laws. We can assist you in the preparation and/or review of your official rules and assist you in navigating the myriad of laws applicable to this type of promotional marketing.
Linking/Referral Arrangements: Determine whether your company’s website will be linked (in either direction) to any third party website. If so, determine whether a linking agreement is required and whether those third party websites comply with applicable standards. If the website will refer consumers to particular producers or leads will be referred to producers, determine whether the appropriate disclaimers, referral agreements, and credentialing process are in place.
Security and Secured Site: Determine whether any sensitive information is to be gathered at your website. If there will be such gathering, confirm that the website will be secured requiring an appropriate registration process, and confirm that the secure site has the appropriate registration/log-on process and that the appropriate security safeguards are in place.
As mentioned above, in connection with our review of a client’s website, we have prepared or revised privacy policies, which are regulated by the Federal Trade Commission. It is vital that you make accurate disclosures to your customers regarding what kind of information you collect and with whom you may share such information. Furthermore, some states, such as California, have additional requirements relating to the display and content of privacy notices.
A website review performed by our law firm will allow your company to focus on marketing your products and services to your customers without having to wonder whether your website is in full compliance with applicable law or if your company’s assets available on your website are adequately protected. The attorneys in our Information Management Practice bring experience from in-house positions in top media and technology companies. For example, one of our attorneys was senior vice president and chief legal officer for Turner Entertainment Group, the subsidiary of Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. responsible for Turner's entertainment operations including television networks TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network, TCM, and Turner South. She advised senior management on strategic business planning and implementation matters, as well as complex rights issues associated with the distribution of the company's entertainment assets through alternative digital platforms, such as those enabled by the Internet, broadband, video on demand, wireless, and mobile technologies. Our experience has prepared us to address diverse issues for a variety of industries.
If you have any questions about your company’s website or would like to schedule a website review, please contact any member of the Information Management Practice at Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP.