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The Importance of Having a Contract Reviewed by a Legal Professional

Contract Agreement

When two or more parties interact with each other, they all have certain expectations pertaining to the outcome of the interaction. To protect their interests and make sure that the expectations are met, such entities should consider signing legally-binding contracts.

Written legal contracts state the expectations of all parties involved and the eventual repercussions that will be faced when such expectations aren’t met. Contracts are enforceable in court, which is why they need to be as detailed and personalized as possible.

Very often, entrepreneurs wonder how to make a legal contract and whether such a document should be thoroughly examined by a contract review lawyer. It’s interesting to point out that a global legal survey suggests 39% of entities rely on professionals other than lawyers for contract management.

If you’re still undecided about the importance of legal contracts and whether these documents should be reviewed by an experienced attorney, the following information may come in handy.

The Benefits Outweigh the Cost of Professional Legal Help

Many small businesses and startups refrain from utilizing legal services because of the perceived cost. The truth of the matter is, however, that a poorly crafted contract can end up costing a lot more in the long run.

Contracts are created to protect businesses and ensure mutually-beneficial partnerships. Missing terms and conditions could enable the other party to get out of the partnership without fulfilling its responsibility. Alternatively, one party could be sanctioned in a faulty way. Such errors will have long-term consequences and they can also have a devastating financial impact on a business.

Law Evolves on a Daily Basis

Business contracts aren’t always simple and straightforward.

On occasions, they will invoke complex clauses and refer to highly specific legal contract terms. Amendments and new regulations could render some clauses or obsolete or necessitate adjustments in pre-existing contracts. Legal professionals have the obligation to expand their knowledge in terms of the changing nature of regulations. If a relevant new law comes into effect, an attorney will make sure that the modification is reflected in a business contract.

Do You Understand What You Are Signing?

Sometimes, you will be presented with an agreement that you will have to sign to move forward or explore new opportunities for your business. Unless you are a legal professional, however, chances are that you don’t have a thorough understanding of what you’re getting yourself into.

Your contract review attorney will make the terms and conditions accessible. You will be notified of the favorable clauses, as well as of the ones that can potentially harm you. Based on their experience, an attorney can let you know whether signing the agreement is a good idea and if it’s in line with your current business development objectives.

The Terms of Business Contracts Can Be Negotiated

Business contracts aren’t unalterable. If you’re not satisfied with a certain term or a condition, you can negotiate a modification.

Once again, a contract review lawyer can represent you during the process and help you get a more favorable legal document. Whether a provision needs to be changed or something important is missing altogether from the document, your lawyer will make a good case and push for the respective change that you desire.

Contracts can quite often cause complications, unexpected outcomes and legal issues. Which is why you shouldn’t just sign blindly or use a generic template for a brand new interaction. Investing in high-quality legal documents protects your business and ensures continual adherence to the highest standards.

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Four Steps for Copyrighting Your Blog or Website Content

Copyright infringement is common in the online realm. Just like a patent, a website or a blog is a part of your intellectual property. Thus, you should undertake the necessary steps to protect all of your content.

You may be wondering how to copyright a blog and what blog copyright laws will apply. The following guide will give you a step by step explanation of everything you will have to go through in order to prevent intellectual property theft.

Understanding Digital Copyright

Copyright is a term that describes the legal rights of intellectual property owners. In essence, these regulations state that the person holding the intellectual property rights is the only one allowed to copy or reproduce the respective work.

Copyright is defined clearly by US law and it applies to digital products like websites and blogs. Based on the US Copyright Act, the owner of the intellectual property is the sole entity given the right to:

  • Reproduce content
  • Create derivative works from the original content
  • Distribute copies of the work
  • Display the work publicly

If other entities are interested in such rights, they are obliged to contact the intellectual property owner who may grant or refuse the permission. The exclusive copyright acts can be transferred to others, and the procedure itself will typically be described in the Copyright section of a website or a blog.

Always Have a Copyright Notice

When wondering how to copyright blog content, you should always start with a clear and customized copyright notice. The aim of the copyright notice is to explain what kinds of content use are allowed and which ones are prohibited.

Just like other legal sections of the website, the copyright notice cannot be copy-pasted from another source or based on a generic template. Your provisions should focus on the types of content available on the specific website and the uses stemming from the respective format.

Move on to the Creative Commons License

The next concept you will need to acquaint yourself with is the creative commons license.

The creative commons license aims at listing the specific uses permissible and the procedure that should be utilized for the transfer of the exclusive copyright to occur. Creative Commons provides free licenses that have pretty much become the standard in the field of blog and website copyright protection.

Apply for Copyright with the US Copyright Office

You can apply with the US Copyright Office in order to benefit from additional protections.

For this purpose, go to the website of the US Copyright Office and find the copyright registration form.  There’s also an online filing process that may be simpler to go through. The filing fee will also be reduced when you go the web-based route.

You will have to provide information about yourself, the title of the website or blog, the date of publication, and the pages you wish to copyright. Blogs and websites are typically copyrighted as literary works, unless they’re more visual.

Upon the completion of the process, you will be asked to pay the registration fee. Next, you’ll have to wait. Depending on the specifics of the copyright application, you may be contacted by an official representative for additional clarification.

These are some of the things you can do to legally protect your online intellectual property. A couple of additional steps can also be beneficial. Some of the things to do include watermarking your images, setting Google alerts for content similar to yours (in order to check for plagiarism) and using CopyScape to check whether some of your most prominent content has been copied without your permission.

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Four Reasons to Have a Non-Disclosure Agreement with Your Clients

Business Contracts

Four Reasons to Have a Non-Disclosure Agreement with Your Clients

Being an entrepreneur and growing your business will necessitate a lot of hard work and strategic thought. Protecting new concepts, ideas, and business development models will be of utmost importance when it comes to maintaining your competitive advantage. In such instances, a non-disclosure agreement can come in handy.

NDAs are typically created to protect confidential information. A mutual non-disclosure agreement will protect both parties involved. While certain business interactions don’t necessitate the use of NDAs, such documents will provide amazing benefits in other instances.

Preventing Information Disclosure to Third Parties

This is the essence of non-disclosure agreement laws – preventing the unauthorized disclosure of information то third parties.

Imagine a situation in which you’re presenting an idea or showing an invention to a potential business partner or customer. In such instances, you want to convey something important about your business without getting the respective idea stolen.

The NDA will oblige the potential client or business partner to keep the information under wraps. Thus, you can demonstrate your biggest strengths without feeling concerned about a potential information leak.

Ensuring the Provision of Quality Services Without Risks

Occasionally, you will interact with partners and third parties tasked with providing services. To accomplish such a goal, they may need access to sensitive data like financial information about your business, inventory, employee data or marketing data.

Such data should not be disseminated outside the organization and you should definitely consider a non-disclosure agreement in such instances.

Providing Information about the Licensing of Specific Technologies

When the sale or product licensing prospect is on the table, you will once again have to think about protecting your business in the worst-case scenario.

The information exchanged with a potential customer in such situations can easily be used by them to gain leverage in the negotiations with other service providers. As a result, you are not going to be competitive on the respective market.

Licensing and sale discussions usually involve the presentation of financial data, facts and figures. Obviously, you don’t want such information circulating freely and you should get that NDA before the talks begin.

In the Event of Selling Your Business

Non-disclosure agreements will also come in handy whenever you’re considering the sale of the entire business.

When selling your business, you will have to present a lot of sensitive data in order to entice a potential buyer into making an offer. At the same time, such data will put you at a massive disadvantage if it gets out there.

It will be difficult to assess who is a serious potential buyer right from the start and who’s there just to gather a bit of intelligence. Non-disclosure agreements are imperative because you’re otherwise left vulnerable. There’s a reason why large companies make NDAs a standard part of the merger and acquisition process.

The Quality of the NDA Matters

In order to offer reliable protection, a non-disclosure agreement should be drafted professionally. Adherence to non-disclosure agreement laws and personalization will both be required to address potential risks and ensure comprehensive sensitive data protection.

Working with a legal professional is imperative in such instances. An attorney will also know how to handle the process of negotiating when it comes to signing a mutual non-disclosure agreement or a privacy agreement with a potential business partner.

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What Are Website Terms and How Do They Protect Your Business?

Website Terms

While most people will skim through terms and conditions (at best!), having such a page on your website is of utmost importance.

The specifics depend on the website niche, the types of information, and the functionalities that the website gives access to. Legally speaking, terms and conditions are rules by which website visitors have to abide in order to access the respective content or service.

Website Terms and Conditions: A Brief Overview:

So many website owners do not put a lot of thought into crafting the terms and conditions page. In fact, they opt for a generic template – a serious mistake. The respective page is important because it can limit your liability in case a visitor or a customer may be considering taking you to court. Its purpose is to also protect the content and suggest permissible uses. Whenever a legal issue occurs, a court will examine the content of the terms and conditions page to determine its comprehensiveness.

The content of the document will vary from one website to another. Some of the most common topics that website terms and conditions may cover include:

  • Content copyright information, a definition of misuse
  • A disclaimer of liability
  • A use clause
  • Privacy policy
  • Governing law under which the usage terms and conditions are crafted
  • A statement about accountability for online actions and behavior
  • Payment details (for memberships, services, in the case of an ecommerce website)
  • Opt-out policy

Reasons Why a Website Needs to Have a Terms and Conditions Page:

The biggest question here is whether website terms and conditions are enforceable. The answer is that it depends on the circumstances. A court will examine situations on an individual basis, which is why having detailed terms of service is always a smart thing.

The page is, in essence, an agreement. It establishes the rules that website visitors must follow when interacting with the respective online platform. When the rules are clearly outlined, abusive behavior can be sanctioned. Such abusive behavior could consist of spamming, posting racist content, copying content from the website, etc. On the basis of these rules, a website administrator can terminate accounts without prior notice. When a website visitor fails to follow the established protocol, the termination clause of the usage agreement can be invoked.

A Website Terms And Conditions Are Crucial For Limiting Liability:

A disclaimer typically states that the website owner cannot be held accountable for errors, outdated information, information published by website visitors, and readers taking information out of context to use it for a specific purpose.

To accomplish these goals, you cannot rely on generic terms and conditions, or on a text that is copied from another website (unfortunately, a common approach that many website owners adopt).

In order to experience the full range of protection, you need a page that is entirely crafted for the needs of your business and the purposes of your website. Working with a  terms and conditions specialist attorney can give you peace of mind and the knowledge that all of the essentials have been covered.

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How to Protect Your Online Intellectual Property?

Protecting Online Property

How to Protect Your Online Intellectual Property?

Does this scenario sound familiar – you’re browsing Facebook and you suddenly see a video that you made for your website, but it’s published by somebody else who claims that they created it? Copyright infringement in the digital realm is an incredibly common occurrence, and most content creators have had some experience with it.

There’s still a common belief that if something has been published online, it’s free to copy and use. This is not the case. If you’re wondering how to copyright website content, the following guide will acquaint you with the essentials.

Website Copyright and Intellectual Property Laws

To protect website content, you’ll first have to understand whether there are legal provisions for creators like you.

Copyright protection arises as soon as a creator finishes working on the respective work. There doesn’t have to be a copyright symbol for intellectual property laws to become enforceable. These laws also apply to all content types in the digital realm – from blog posts and complicated infographics, to interactive multimedia and pictures.

It’s illegal for somebody to just take your content and publish it on another website.

The same applies to non-digital content published online. If you write a book and decide to upload a PDF to your website, the book will be protected.

One of the most important laws offering protection to digital content is the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). According to this law, all materials published online are protected by US copyright law.

How to Copyright Blog Content and Other Digital Materials

Whether you need to protect website content or copyright images online, the procedure to follow will be one and the same.

While content creators do benefit from automatic copyright protection, a copyright notice that also highlights fair use practices should be drafted. For best results, you may want to have a website footer appearing on every single page. The footer should state the year and the fact that all rights are reserved.

Pursuing Copyright Infringement

Knowing whether your content has been stolen is not an easy task. Often, infringement will be difficult to identify.

Using Google Analytics to determine what your most popular content is, you can perform occasional checks. Tools like Copyscape make it possible to paste the text and see whether it appears on websites other than yours.

In such instances, you will have to submit a DMCA takedown request. Such a notice will typically be made available via a hosting service provider. You can also submit a Google DMCA take down request.

While this is happening, take screenshots and collect evidence. On occasions, it may be impossible to get assistance from the hosting company, or it may be located in another country where other jurisdictions will apply.

In such instances, you may have to take legal action against the entity that has stolen your content.

Pursuing legal action should be a last-resort option because this process may be lengthy and cumbersome. Usually, copyright infringements will be resolved before it gets to that point. If you contact the respective website owner or manager, chances are that they’ll take down the stolen content sooner or later.

If you want to start a lawsuit, make sure that the damages will outweigh the cost of the legal proceedings. Consulting with an experienced attorney may shed more light on the specifics, and help you decide which path to choose.