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It’s all too easy to fall into the trap of believing that the internet is a giant free-for-all where anyone can say or publish anything they like without any consequences. You only need take a look at a few Facebook, Twitter or other social media feeds to see that many people seem to have no filter when it comes to adding their two cents to an ongoing debate.
In reality, the virtual world is every bit as litigious as the real one. While there are some obvious dangers, such as slandering someone, claiming someone else’s work as your own and publishing offensive material to your site, there are plenty of other, less obvious ways you could find yourself in court. Here are a few key points to watch out for.
You may have a great idea for a website – one that fulfils a genuine need and offers a worthwhile service – but that doesn’t mean no one will object to it. This was the case recently with a startup that alerted travelers when prices at Southwest Airlines fell so they could grab bargain flights.
It’s difficult to predict some issues in advance, especially if you are keeping your idea secret in order to be first to market. The best attitude is to use a combination of “what if” brainstorming and advanced disaster planning to work out the best possible strategy to deal with such a situation, so you at least have some kind of game plan in mind should the worst come to pass.
Tick all the boxes
Many websites carry disclaimers to protect the owners against litigation from those who suffer as a result of some aspect of the website’s business. While you may be tempted to include extra disclaimers as a precaution, this can actually cause further difficulties with the disclaimer itself becoming the subject of a lawsuit.
The best solution is to consult specialists to see whether your website needs a disclaimer at all and, if it does, which one would be most appropriate. Although you may have to spend some of your hard-earned cash to get good quality advice on the matter, it will pay huge dividends in the long run if it protects you from litigation.
Use professional expertise
Should you find your website at the center of a lawsuit, it’s vital to be able to provide the courts with access to all your electronically stored data, such as emails, text messages, attachments and call logs, as this material can provide evidence of what was or was not said at a particular time, as well as context and background information.
As it is impossible to predict when a lawsuit may be filed, much of the necessary material may have already been erased or be extremely difficult to locate. Thankfully by engaging an e-discovery service such as that provided by Secure Data Recovery, you can rest assured that all the information you need to prove your case will be made available.
If you do find yourself the accusation of an infringement, the key is to take immediate remedial steps, especially if there is any possibility of you being found liable. Failing to do so at the earliest possible opportunity means a court may later award punitive damages on top of other costs and that could easily put you out of business for good.