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Is Your Website Compliant

Head of the Company & Commercial Team, Richard Murrall, offers some useful advice below.

Websites are an important information and brand building tool.  It’s quite easy to launch a website – you might have the expertise in house to do it, but failing that, you can outsource the work to a web design company.  As a result, most businesses have a web presence in some shape or form.  However do you know whether your website is legally complaint?

Here are a few matters to consider:

1    If you have asked a third party to build a website for you, ensure that you have a written contract in place relating to the design, build, maintenance and hosting of the site as well as registration and ownership of the domain name.  The obligations of the third party need to be set out clearly.

2    Just because you commission the development of a website does not mean you own the copyright to it.  Make sure your agreement transfers to you the ownership of copyright in the site.

3    You will need provisions to ensure that someone else can host and amend the site if you end your arrangement with the original designer.

4    Make sure that you own the copyright in any photographs and prose to be included on your website or, if you don’t, that you have written permission to use them.

5    Don’t post, or let anyone else post, anything on the pages of your website that you are not happy for the whole world to see.  Be careful that any postings are not libellous or in breach of someone else’s copyright.  You could be liable.

6    Consider whether you need separate password protected pages which can only be accessed by parents.

7    Online notice boards and blogs, can be problematic.  Your website should include appropriate policies on how these pages may be used.  You may have to monitor them and reserve the right to control what is posted.

8    The Data Protection Act imposes obligations on any organisation collecting and using personal data.  If you collect data (like names and e-mail addresses) of visitors to the site make sure that you are clear, on your website, of the purposes for which the data is being collected and get appropriate consent to that use.  If you are collecting data a suitable privacy policy gives comfort to users.

9    The Disability Discrimination Act and related legislation impose obligations to ensure that disabled persons are not unfairly discriminated against when attempting to access online information.  Your site must comply with those requirements.

Points to note:

The public pages of your website are an online prospectus.  A prospective customer will form an opinion of your site within a few seconds of clicking through your pages.

Keep your website pages up to date.  Out of date content is, at best, irritating and, at worst, misleading.

If you would like to contact Richard, you can do so on 01952 211046 or email him at richard.murrall@lblaw.co.uk.