Legal and Policies

 

Legalities surrounding your Website and its legal policies are like eating your vegetables: you know they’re good for you, but you don’t always enjoy the blandness of it.  Because, let’s face it, even lawyers can find legal research a little boring. Therefore, we have put this guide together to help you out a little. Even though we are not attorneys and we must disclose that, We are especially relevant experts in web site development and we want to help you with some basic tips. Please consult your legal counsel for a more depth information if you need. Some forms need to be on the website itself as a general umbrella of protection. Others need to be on the site for privacy and security reasons. Some forms like domain, Articles of your business, and tax or government forms, have no business being shown to the general public.


General types of businesses

 

  • Sole Proprietor – most small businesses and websites are just this. As a default in most countries, if you have not prepared proper documents, you automatically default to this status or a partnership if you have a partner. The advantage of being a Sole Proprietor is a lot less messy with forms and government requirements, but the negative is that in issues of legality, both your company and your personal assets are at risk to protect the company against any type of legislation. Therefore, if the company gets a lawsuit, so do you. Consider getting out of Sole Proprietor status as your company grows or you own multiple companies/assets
  • Partnership – Like a sole proprietorship in many ways except there is more than one person responsible for the company, its assets, and its debts. And like mentioned with sole proprietorship, both your company and all of the partners assets are at risk to protect the company against any type of legislation. Therefore, if the company gets a lawsuit, all of the partners are included. Consider getting out of partnership status as your company grows or if any partner owns multiple companies/assets.
  • Limited Liability Corp (LLC) – The next step up but not allowed in all countries. A Limited Liability corporation (LLC) offers the benefit of separating the individuals from the company, therefore, your personal home, cars, banking account, personal assets are not at risk. Only the companies’ assets are at risk. One bit of extra work will include documenting if all purchases are for the company or for the individual. On large purchase like a car, either the individual or the company will have to purchase the item, and the other person/entity will have to Lease or rent the car from the other person/entity. Even though the LLC gets a tax ID, In most cases the individual or partners personal taxes are handled individually.
  • Corporation – The individual or partners do not legally own anything that the company owns because the company gets a separate tax ID. Hence, the individual, or partners own shares of the LLC. All of your paperwork will need to be handled separately from the corporation to the individual/Partners. You probably will need an accountant as your income may be paid toy you as a salary, a commission, or a dividend of the shares you own in the corporation.

 

*** Being headquartered in the USA, we are most familiar with the terminologies and laws within the United States. Legal entity rights may vary outside the USA, please seek local legal counsel

General forms that may be needed to start your company

  • Business registration – with a local governing entity if required
  • Trademark registration – with a local governing entity if required
  • Copyright registration – with a local governing entity if required
  • Company Meeting notes – it is wise to document your first initial meetings, even if it is just with yourself. Not only does this help you in development of your company, there are also legal precedence’s that requires it in certain regions.
  • Articles of the Sole Proprietorship, LLC, or Corporation – as required with a local governing entity if required
  • Employee or sales agreements – if you have employees or sales people, then you need to have an agreement of compensation. Even if you are the only one, it is still wise to put an agreement together. You can always adjust this agreement as you need to.


General forms that almost every website needs

  • Terms of Use/Service- also called terms of conditions. – The Website Terms of Use is just one of the many legal documents that your website needs in order to be truly protected from damage due to a legal issue. It discloses your company’s jurisdiction. In this should also be the rules to be adhered to should you have registering clients or subscribers.
  • Privacy Policy – Privacy policies plainly inform consumers who visit your website what personal information of theirs that you are using and how you intend to use this information. Privacy policies are also a requirement if you plan on selling anything on your website.
  • Website Refund/Returns Policy – a proper refund or return policy needs to be in place and agreed to by the client when any sale takes place.

Specific forms

  • Location – certain licenses or disclosures may be needed based on where you conduct business. Please seek local advise from the proper governing agency
  • Company products – certain licenses or disclosures may be needed to offer your products. Please seek local advise from the proper governing agency
  • Individual needs and protections – certain licenses or disclosures may be needed for your own personal needs. Please seek local advise from the proper governing agency

If you need help in developing these forms, we do have many standard forms to choose from. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions