privacy policies

Why Your Company’s Website Agreement Matters

Linkilaw Internet Security, Startup Advice & Tips

If you have been on any company website lately, you may have noticed something called a Website Agreement or Privacy Policy. We usually don’t really look into what these kind of documents are and what they have to do with us visiting a website, but we should, as these documents define the relationship between the businesses website and its visitors.

Your company website is no exception. Without a Website Agreement, you run the risk of facing many potential legal hurdles further down the track that can affect the way you operate your business and even your overall profit. Read on and you’ll see why every business, including yours, needs to have a website agreement.

Professionalism

Think about a company website you’ve visited. Usually in the footer, you’ll see links towards a privacy policy, disclaimers or any other terms and conditions to define your relationship with their company and reglement the way you can make use of their data and the way they can make use of yours.

You probably very rarely actually read a website agreement but didn’t it happen for you to notice there are none of the above mentioned links? No ‘How we use your data’, no ‘Privacy policy’, no assurance you’re safe whatsoever. Not seeing any of the links regarding privacy policies means you should really think twice before providing any of your personal data in any form.

Content and Data Ownership

Many business owners think that they own everything on their site as soon as they publish it. The reality is that unless you have a website agreement that specifies you have full rights over your website content, anyone can copy and use your content as if it’s theirs.

Multiple small businesses have been caught out by this fatal mistake. Turner Barr is one of these small companies who started publishing without having a website agreement. Guess what happened next? A big corporate company decided to copy the entire brand for their own purposes and even trademarked Turner Barr’s idea to make sure it’s lawfully theirs.

A website agreement prevents such incidents from happening because it gives you copyright and intellectual ownership over everything you post on your site.

Limits Your Responsibility

You’ve most likely seen Disclaimers on many company websites you’ve visited and wondered what they are for. A disclaimer basically limits a company’s responsibility in the case a customer uses information or products you sell on your website and things don’t play out as they would expect it to.

If you have a blog on which you post education content, a disclaimer is utterly important as some people might take your personal experiences as solutions to their problems, try and apply them to their life situations and sue you for things going wrong. For example, imagine you had a life coaching business and you wrote a blog post on how to do well in a job interview. If someone reads your post and follows your advice, but doesn’t get the job, they could actually pursue legal action against you for it.

Gives You Compliance With UK and EU Laws

In the case you collect names, email addresses, and other personal contact information, a privacy policy keeps you on the legal side of the UK and EU privacy laws. Before adding forms on your website and starting collecting personal information, make sure you clearly tell your customers how their information will be used and how safe it is in your hands.

Preventing Abuse

If your website contains a comments section you probably already experienced reading unsavoury messages from people that might have not agreed with your posts. Any comments that are racist, discriminatory and that can at least be perceived in this way can actually be associated with your business and your opinion unless you regulate this in your website agreement.

With a website agreement, you can limit yourself from these kinds of comments and make it very clear from the outset that in no way do you agree with any comments posted by users on your site. This protects your brand and entire business from any potential negative backlash.

Adherence to Governing Laws

This basically tells a user that your website is being governed by the laws of your respective nation. It’s one of those things that also helps with professionalism and trust, making your business look more legitimate

Wherever it is you primarily operate your business from, or is registered in, your website agreement needs to mention it. So if your business is registered in the UK it would say something like, “These terms and conditions are governed by the laws of the United Kingdom.”

Terminating Accounts

If you have a company website that offers a membership service, the privacy policy is the document where you can specify under what conditions you have the right to terminate the accounts of users that don’t respect the terms and conditions of use, for example, if they behave inappropriately to you, your staff, or even other users.

Conclusion

Now you can see why a website agreement matters and why every legitimate business needs one. If anything, it gives you peace of mind knowing that you are legally protected and are fulfilling your legal and ethical responsibilities. Without one, you’re basically operating your business exposed to many silly legal hurdles in the future.




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