Omit needless T&Cs

How many legal documents should a website include? This depends to an extent upon the nature of the website, but just as important are the inclinations of the website operator. Where possible, I try to limit the legal documents to two: a terms and conditions document and a privacy policy. There are a number of advantages to limiting the number of legal documents. Fewer documents are easier to maintain, and users know where to go to answer any particular question they may have about a site.

How can I ensure that my website complies with all local and international laws?

This question is commonly asked and easily answered: you can't. That's right, in practice you can't ensure that a website will comply with all applicable laws. Why not? To answer this question, you need to appreciate a couple of basic legal points. First, a website may be impacted by laws of many different kinds. Second, there is no "international law" of websites as such. Website legal compliance needs to be approached from a national perspective.

False attribution: the moral right

The ease and informality of digital publishing have led to an increase in complaints about false attribution: that is, representations that a person is the author of a work, when he or she is not. Such representations may give rise to rights under the law of copyright, defamation or malicious falsehood. However, there is also a little-known moral right against false attribution. Under that Section 84 CDPA, a person has a right not to have a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work falsely attributed to him or her as author.

Sole rights, exclusive rights and non-exclusive rights

Contractual licences are very often defined as exclusive, or non-exclusive, or sole. What is the difference between an exclusive grant of rights and a non-exclusive grant of rights? Is there any difference between an exclusive grant and a sole grant? In this short post, I try to answer these common contract-related questions.

The effects of the new cookies laws

On 26 May 2011, the rules about the use of cookies and similar technologies were changed. The change was prompted by amendments to the EU's Privacy and Electronic Communications Directive. Although several weeks have passed since the change, few websites comply with the new law, and confusing guidance from the UK and EU data protection authorities has left website owners scratching their heads.

Offer and acceptance online

There are three fundamental requirements for the formation of a legally enforceable contract, and they are as applicable online as offline. First, the contracting parties must agree on the terms of the contract, through the issue and acceptance of a contractual offer. Second, they must intend to create a legally binding agreement. Third, the contract must be supported by consideration: an exchange of value.

The Contracts (Rights of Third Parties) Act 1999: an introduction

English law can be unfair. In 1962, Peter Beswick agreed to hand over his business to his nephew, John. In exchange, John contracted to pay a sum of money to Peter each week and, after his death, to Peter's widow. After Peter died, John decided not to pay. He almost succeeded. Peter's widow could not sue under the contract herself as she was not a party to it — but she was administering Peter's estate, and was able to enforce it on his behalf.

When and how to use an NDA

Non-disclosure agreements (NDA) impose obligations to refrain from disclosing information, take measures to protect the confidentiality of information and/or use information only for a specified purpose or purposes. In this post, I look at the issues surrounding the use of NDAs in the IT industry, and consider some of the the typical situations in which they may be used.

An introduction to UCTA

The Unfair Contract Terms Act 1977 (UCTA) imposes statutory limits on the avoidance of civil liability through exclusion clauses in business contracts for breaches of contract, negligence, or other breaches of duty. UCTA is only concerned with exclusion clauses, and does not examine whether a contract is unfair generally.