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Your e-commerce site may attract liability globally


Websites and online business models have to be careful on account of liabilities that they may face in a global business environment. Legal support is required to understand global laws to ensure that there is no loophole that exposes the online business to non-compliance of laws in any country or to violation of any set regulations. Liability on internet may also arise due to linking (inserting a link to another relevant or irrelevant site) in the site content, framing (opening another website inside the html frame of the client site), fraud, libel or defamation, trademark or copyright infringement or invasion of privacy of the users. The liabilities of the client in executing the online business may be divided into statutory, contractual or torturous.
Client offering goods and services online must have an online contract to which the customer, doing business with him online, must consent. The contract needs to be carefully drafted to protect the website owner from liability and should address the key terms and conditions for the provisions of goods or services. The contract should clearly establish the exact time and manner of acceptance of the contract. In the event of dispute or breach of contract, the liability of the owner of the website would be limited only to the extent of the terms of the contract. Depending on the type of business, the client’s online business would also have to comply with the provisions of the law, federal or state, in that jurisdiction. Since jurisdictions across the world differ with respect to statutory compliance and permitted activities, the online business would, in addition to the local laws, also be required to comply with the requirements of the statutes of the countries in which the website would be vastly accessed. Failure to conform to foreign regulations may lead to liability under such law. Liability under tort may arise due to wrongful intrusion of the business or illegal defamation or any remark or action that may cause damage to someone’s property or reputation. Though no contractual relationship may be existent or the intrusion or injury is inadvertent, the website owner may be liable for wrongful injury. As per law of torts, the client owes a duty to the user and is bound to take reasonable care to avoid any harm that may be done.

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