Alasdair Taylor's blog

How to write a delivery policy

From the perspective of the customer, the delivery policy may be the most important legal document on a website. It should answer questions that are of keen interest to all customers: by what means will my goods be delivered? When will they be delivered? Do I have to sign for delivery? Will I have to take a day off work? And how much will it all cost? Accordingly, if you're selling goods through a website, you should publish a delivery policy of some kind.

5 contract negotiation tactics to avoid

The success of most contract negotiation processes can be measured by: the quality of the resulting contract, in terms of faithfulness to the parties' intentions, proportionality, certainty and clarity; the length of the process and the costs incurred during the process; and the resulting attitudes of each party with respect to the contractual documentation and, more importantly, each other. Although not every contractual negotiation can be measured against these principles - for instance, dispute settlement agreements are rarely going to lead to mutual respect - they hold good for most.

New wedding photography contract template

I've spent much of today working on a new wedding photographer contract. This is an adapted version of our existing standard terms and conditions for photographers. There are quite a few features of wedding photography documents that differentiate them from other kinds of photography contract. Having been through the adaptation process, I would recommend that any wedding photographer not using a contract specifically adapted for weddings should be thinking about doing so.

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.

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.