What Are the Legal Issues That Entrepreneurs Should Avoid When Making Their Business Web Site
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As an entrepreneur you may create a business web site for several reasons. You may wish to sell products, provide information or just endorse your services. However, you must keep the following points in mind when making a website to avoid legal issues in the future.
Using Deceptively Similar Website Names and/or Taglines of Other Businesses
To market yourself, you cannot use an already established business’ name or tagline to direct customer traffic to your web site. Not only is this unfair, but it is also illegal. At times entrepreneurs consider it a shortcut to use a famous competitor’s web site name with a trivial spelling difference to trick customers into visiting their web site and buying their products. Every brand has their own intellectual property and it would be better to avoid such clash.
Having good customer reviews online is extremely helpful for any entrepreneur. However, at times, companies create fake profiles to post good reviews. If these practices become known to the public, it could lead to more than just an embarrassment for the company. A company can not only lose brand image but can also be sued for fraud and falsification.
Badmouthing Your Competitors
You will not see a web site that would directly name a competitor’s product and call it inferior to their own. This is known as comparative advertising and is not strictly legal in India. Names of competing products cannot be used to show how your product is better. Essentially you can say your products or services are better than your competitors but cannot say that your competitor’s products or services are bad. There are many courts that have laid down guidelines on comparative advertising.
Using Words like ‘First Product Ever’ and ‘Only One in the World’
Since entrepreneurs are so passionate about their business they may sometimes get carried away when marketing their product or services. Using words like ‘first product ever’ or ‘No. 1 product used in India’ without being backing any facts or statistics sums to misrepresentation. If a customer genuinely believes that the product is first of its kind on what is written on the web site and then realizes that it is not true then the customer may feel cheated that they were fooled into buying it. Therefore, businesses must be very careful when they provide descriptions of their products and the way they promote their venture.
Using Third Party Pictures on Your Web Site
Many web sites have pictures to make it more attractive. If an entrepreneur decides to put up a picture of some building, car or people on their web site, they would probably just go on the internet and download an image or two and use them. The problem here is that those pictures are probably owned by someone else. In other words, if you use those pictures, you may be sued for copyright infringement. It is always better to put up only original pictures and photographs.
Using Customer’s Pictures to Market Your Product
You must be careful when you upload pictures of your customers that show them using your product. The same should be done only after taking their permission. The picture should not violate their right to privacy. The same goes for celebrities. If you happen to get a picture of a celebrity using your product, you must first seek their permission before uploading the photo. Celebrities charge money when they act in advertisements, tweet about products or display them in their Instagram stories. With legal fees and settlement costs, you may as well have paid them to advertise your product in the first place.
A business web site is a necessity in today’s day and age. Following the points listed above would help you avoid legal hassles in the times to come.