Pin Me

Learn about Cyber Laws and Protecting Your Home Business

written by: MD Weems•edited by: John Garger•updated: 2/18/2010

For those who are not quite up to speed on the cyber laws that could related to your home business, this article will help you understand some of the problems that you might face with your business.

  • slide 1 of 3

    Just What Are Cyber Laws?

    Many people are still debating if there is a specific area of legal guidance that takes the form of a cyber law, but it does seem that there are efforts on many fronts that are being made to help fit existing laws to help some of the issues that are involved with conducting Internet-related transactions and businesses. No matter what, there are several important issues that relate to e-commerce that any home business owner needs to keep in mind when they are doing business. Just because you are doing business on the Internet doesn't mean that you are now exempt from laws and legal issues that other home businesses face. In fact, you are still just as liable for any legal problems that arise from your home business' online transactions just as you would be in a normal business in the state or country that your where your business is located. Some of the cyber problems that you might run up against in your home business include domain names, intellectual property, electronic contracts, electronic signatures, and Internet sales taxes.

    No matter if you have a promotional web site, or passive site, or you are actively seeking business online and completing transactions there, there are several different business liabilities that you may be exposed to, either from customers, government agencies, or from your own employees (if you have them). To help protect yourself and your home business from these issues, there are several ways that you can put some active prevention measures in place.

  • slide 2 of 3

    How You Can Help Prevent Cyber Problems For Your Home Business

    There are plenty of ways that you can protect your home business from some of the cyber issues that you probably will run up against. For example, let's take a look at promotional websites, or passive sites. You want to make sure that any proprietary information about your home business that you place on your site is protected right? Well, to do this, you will more than likely have to file copyrights and trademarks to help keep them protected. (Now, you need to look into these both, as you may only need to file a copyright or trademark to protect the information on your site.) Another way that you can end up losing some proprietary information is through employees and sometimes it is best to have them sign a confidentiality agreement and a non-compete agreement when they are hired to help safeguard your business information. Also, you need to find out if you need to have a special business license for any business that you do online as well. Some states require special licenses even if you are just auctioning something on eBay.

    For those who have an active website that you conduct business through, then your issues can actually become more complex really quickly. Some areas of your home business may have a special international or national statue that will apply, such as in the case of Internet gambling and information that might be gathered on children. You want to make sure that you know all of the laws that regard your specific type of home business in your state or country so that you are familiar with any problems that might arise. For example, if you sell software online, you are actually subject to a specific Internet-related interpretation of statues that govern the issues that deal with things like: warranties, shrinkwrap licensing agreements, transferability, and substantial performance. There are many different laws that will govern your home business in your state or country and you want to make sure that you know them as they will translate over into cyber laws as well.

    Basically, you want to make sure that you use good judgment and caution with your home business. When you know how the legal issues and the standards of your industry and you can apply them to your online home business, then you will find it is easier to head off cyber problems before they arise. By making clear agreements with your employees, you will be able to safeguard your businesses' property and proprietary information as well as customer information. If you find that you have any concerns or questions about your specific home business or your state's or country's laws, then it is always a good decision to consult an attorney early in your home business' life before any cyber problems arise. Make sure that you find an attorney who has some experience in this area, so you get the best information possible for your money.

  • slide 3 of 3

    Links To Cyber Law Help Sites

    Here are a couple of websites where you can find more information that concerns cyber laws and problems that you might have or run into:

    www.GigaLaw.com – This site is pretty comprehensive when it comes to home businesses and addresses the “legal information for internet and technology professionals”. There are plenty of great articles here as well as links to other sites that can help you as well.

    www.NoLo.com – This site is pretty clear and is more of a self-help site that will help walk you through some areas of cyber laws.

    Www.freeadvice.com – This is another good site where you can find some legal advice that anyone can understand on your home business.

    Www.bitlaw.com – This site deals more with the e-commerce issues that can arise and says that it is “a comprehensive Internet resource on technology law”. This can be a great help to those who have lots of questions or are already finding themselves up against some cyber issues.