Website Liability Exposures

While many businesses are wise to use their Web site to reach customers and business partners on the web, there are risks involved. In fact, the exposures are emerging, evolving and complex.

Generally, Web site exposures can be broken down into these core categories:

  • Content
  • Networking Security and Privacy
  • Employment Practices

Hence, anyone who has a Web site has the legal liabilities of a publisher. Gathering and disseminating of information can leave a business exposed to a variety of risks including: defamation, invasion of privacy, copyright infringement, trademark infringement and advertising errors and omissions. In addition, any organization operating a Web site or conducting e-business needs protection from exposures such as e-theft, e-vandalism, denial of service and more. Lastly, employers face a rising tide of employment practices litigation alleging discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation and other torts; thus, a business needs to keep these factors in mind when operating their Web site.

Here are some questions to think about when it comes to protecting your business:

  • Do you conduct periodic audits of your Web site and Web site marketing practices to ensure that you are continuing to implement adequate risk management measures, particularly with regard to privacy, copyright, and security measures?
  • Does your firm post a privacy policy on its Web site and utilize a privacy “seal” program, such as TRUST-e or BBBOnLine?
  • Does your firm include instructions within your email advertisement, explaining how the recipient can opt out of future mailings?
  • Have you reviewed all content you post on your Web site to ensure that it is not potentially infringing upon another’s copyright or trademark rights?
  • Does your website include an email address to which complaints of infringement may be directed if any third-party content is posted on your Web site?
  • Have you obtained express permission to include images or music files on your site or have you specifically ascertained that such content is within the public domain or would constitute fair use?
  • Have you consulted with legal counsel prior to establishing a chat room or message board on your site?
  • Is there a review process to verify that all content is accurate before posting?
  • Does your Web site prominently disclaim any liability for losses or damages resulting from the reliance upon any information posted on your site?

Although employers cannot eliminate the possibility of lawsuits, there are mitigating steps you take to manage your risk effectively.

To learn more:

Next: Social Media Risks