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Alasdair Taylor's blog

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.

10 ways to become a cyber-criminal

The great thing about cyber-crimes is that they're so easy to commit. With a computer and an internet connection, you can commit all manner of crimes from the privacy of your bedroom. You don't need shot-guns, bolt-cutters, getaway cars or gangs of desperados. If you follow the instructions in this post, you can be a master cyber-criminal in no time at all.

Copyright – how long does it last?

The law of copyright protects creative output. It is a property right which prevents copying and arises automatically even ‘before the ink is dry on the paper’. In an age of unlimited electronic access to information and imagery of every kind, the danger of infringing someone’s copyright is ever-present. However, the law on copyright only protects material for a limited amount of time. The question is: how long?

How to register a UK trade mark without a lawyer

It is sometimes thought that a solicitor or trade mark attorney must be instructed to register a trade mark. While this is a misconception, anyone thinking of applying to register a mark without a lawyer would do well to study the legal and procedural issues, as there are plenty of pitfalls for the unwary.

Should I instruct a lawyer, or use a template?

I'm often asked whether a lawyer is needed for a particular contract job, or whether a template document would be adequate. It can be a frustratingly difficult question to answer. In seeking out legal services, small businesses usually want reassurance that they are "covered" for legal risks, but aren't necessarily interested in learning about the exact nature of those risks. However, all business involves risk, and no contract is perfect.

Marketplace websites and UK regulations

I've just finished working on a new template terms and conditions of use document for marketplace-type websites. This process has not been as straightforward as it should have been. Both the Ecommerce Regulations and the Distance Selling Regulations are poor fit for this kind of website, because of the range of different contractual relationships that this kind of website can give rise to.