Sellling online and the law - part 3 - product descriptions

Product descriptions and photographs are among the more important aspects of a typical online sales strategy. Descriptions should be clear, informative and fresh; photos should be properly exposed and focused, and large enough enough to show off the products to best effect. But also, descriptions and photos must be legal.

Selling online and the law - part 2 - regulation of products

If you are selling online, you need to ensure that the products you are selling are legal. Some types of product - nuclear warheads, etc - are clearly illegal; others are potentially legal, subject to compliance with special regulations. Pharmaceuticals, food and toys fall into this category. Then there's a residual category of products, not given any special treatment, but nonetheless subject to the general law on product safety and quality.

Selling online and the law - part 1 - introduction

Over the past few months, I've been involved in the development of a couple of new businesses selling products online: a toy retailer and a fashion accessory design/supply business. As well as hacking together the websites for the businesses (using the wonderful Drupal) I've been responsible for legal compliance. With the experience fresh in memory, it seems like a good time to write a guide to the legal issues affecting online sales, using the two businesses as case studies.

London 2012 and marketing - don't "medal" with the Olympic brand

Given the profile of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games, there will be a real temptation for businesses of all types to attempt to associate themselves with such a huge event. But beware - all that glitters may not be gold for businesses falling foul of any of the myriad of legislation surrounding the Games. One of the conditions attached to London being awarded the right to hold the Games in 2012 was that the organizers had to deliver a “clean games: LOCOG must be able to prevent any unauthorized use of any Olympic-connected branding.

Employees and social media: possibilities and pitfalls

Social media services and traditional businesses have an uneasy relationship. One the one hand, social media sites can consume a huge amount of employee time and present novel risks; on the other hand, they offer valuable marketing and business development opportunities. The risks of employee social media use were highlighted recently in the case of Teggert v Teletech.

Renewing your publishing contracts

Perhaps because author agreements last a long time, many publishers use the same standard contract for a long period. Many years may pass by between comprehensive contract reviews. If you are a publisher, and your contracts are starting to look a little archaic, then this post should help you. It highlights some of the key developments of the last decade that affect publishing contracts, with a particular focus on author agreements.

Unwritten author contracts

Let's suppose you've published a book by a new author. You didn't produce a contract document at the time, or perhaps you did produce a contract document, but it was never signed. You agreed the basics – advance, royalty rates and so on – in an exchange of emails. And perhaps you've paid the advance to the author, perhaps you've begun paying royalties. You might think there's no contract – but I'll bet there is.

Indemnities in IT contracts

What is an indemnity? Broadly, and indemnity is a compensation payment or an obligation to make a compensation payment. Should you include an indemnity in your IT contract? And if so, what sort of indemnity? Indemnities in IT contracts come in different shapes and sizes. Whether it is appropriate to include an indemnity in a given contract will depend upon a range of factors. In this post, I explore some of these factors.

How copyright protects websites

There is no copyright in a website as such, but copyright will usually protect some or all of the elements of a website. Copyright protects specific classes of “work”. Those classes are enumerated in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. These classes of copyright work largely pre-date the internet, but have proven adaptable to new technologies. In this post, I look at the different elements comprising a typical website, and consider the ways in which they are protected – or left unprotected – by English copyright law.

Product photography and copyright law

There are two aspects to photographic copyright: photographs may be protected by copyright, but may also infringe copyright. A photograph of a painting could infringe the copyright in the painting, and a photograph of a photograph could likewise infringe. That much is well-known to most photographers. The position with respect to photographs of other artefacts - buildings, sculptures, designs and products - is less well understood.