We make sure our clients know, understand and adhere to the legal requirements for websites to avoid lawsuits and fines.

ADA, Section 508 & accessibility

In 2010, the Americans with Disabilities Act Standards for Accessible Design was published by the Department of Justice (DOJ). The ADA prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including jobs, schools, transportation, and all public and private places that are open to the general public.

According to ADA standards, commercial and public entities with "places of public accommodation" includes the internet. That means all electronic and information technology must be accessible to people with disabilities.

Who needs to follow ADA requirements:

  1. Americans with disabilities, their friends, family, and caregivers
  2. Private employers with 15 or more employees
  3. Businesses operating for public benefit
  4. State and local government agencies

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003

The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 (Controlling the Assault of Non-Solicited Pornography and Marketing), regulates the corporate use of email marketing. Regulated by the FTC it contains content and procedural requirements and establishes a timetable for a "do not email" registry to be created, so that business and individuals can "opt out" of receiving corporate marketing emails.

CAN-SPAM also established fines of $250 per email sent in violation of the Act's requirements, up to $2 million, and provisions for special damages for willful or knowing violations of the Act. Violators may be subject to criminal penalties of up to 5 years in prison for fraud and related activity using email marketing communications.

Privacy & data protection

Protecting personal data is not just about prioritizing transparency, consent and security - it's the law

In the U.S., there isn't one law that specifies the requirement for privacy or information (data) security and any appropriate policies, but there are a number of federal laws, e.g. the Computer Security Act (1997) and Children's Internet Protection Act (2001), that strongly suggest you should have one.

However, some States have laws that take these legal requirements further. In California, the California Online Privacy Protection Act requires that any owner of a commercial website or online service that collects information which can personally identify someone residing in California, must have their privacy policy somewhere clearly visible on their site.

Then take European data protection rules which are, and always have been, extraterritorial. They apply to all personal data collected, processed, and retained about persons within the European Union regardless of citizenship or nationality.

Simply if you collect data from European users or do business in Europe, you must protect their data in full accordance with the regulation as if you yourself were in Europe.

Online sales, marketing & spam

Federal, state, and international laws govern e-commerce the buying and selling of products or services through electronic channels. E-commerce commonly involves selling goods and services via the Internet. This also incldes providing product service and support online. The seller and buyer are not face-to-face with the transaction conducted remotely using technology. This creates uncertainty about the formation and enforcement of electronic contracts, but U.S. law is evolving to meet these challenges.

In addition to a proper privacy policy, businesses involved in e-commerce are required to have a number of other policies clearly visible on their site.

  1. E-commerce termes and conditions
  2. Refunds policy
  3. A Shipping and Delivery Policy

Copyright and plagiarism - content created by others

It is no secret that "user-generated content" is king, it's what drives the social media sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and has allowed them to create new levels of engagement that adds credibility, and authority to almost any business.

From images, YouTube (Vimeo etc.) videos, play lists from Spotify through to ticket listings this content (and more) is often created by other people yet is frequently used by nightclubs, nightlife organizers & event venues. Just "using this" content raises a number of important questions.

  1. Who actually owns the original content and do you have premission to use it?
  2. Are any Royalties due to the original owner?
  3. Who owns the content once it's published on your site?
  4. What if the content isn't original, or what if it's defamatory?