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Episode 2-Legal Issues that Online Businesses Need to Know About
Episode 216th March 2023 • Not So Risky Business • Mariam Tsaturyan
00:00:00 00:49:13

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This episode is the second episode of Not So Risky Business podcast. In this episode, we explore the major legal issues that online businesses and entrepreneurs deal with and need to be aware of.

Some of these legal issues mentioned in the episode are:

  • website policies
  • privacy laws and data collection
  • intellectual property laws (trademark, copyright, patents, trade secrets)
  • e-Commerce regulations and more.

It's important to legally protect your business so that you don't risk losing it because of a legal technicality.

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Transcripts

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You are listening to Not So Risky Business podcast where we make legal easy for you by unlocking access to essential legal information, training and strategy for online businesses, coaches and entrepreneurs. I'm your host, Mariam Tsaturyan. Welcome.

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Welcome back to the second episode of Not So Risky Business Podcast.

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This episode is going to concentrate on some legal issues that online businesses need to be aware of and need to deal with in order to protect their businesses legally be compliant with several rules and regulations. Just a fair warning there are a lot of rules and regulations in place that online businesses as well as traditional businesses.

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Need to comply with. So what I'm going to do today during this episode is list some of the more prominent one that we all need to be aware of and definitely comply with. [00:01:00] And then once I list them, I'll try to go into them and give a little bit more detail and feedback on each one. Now some of this rules and regulations, some of the points that I'm going to list are pretty broad.

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There's a lot that go into them. Like there's so much that we need to know and we can discuss on that I could make separate podcast episodes on each one of these rules and regulations that I'm going to list or issues that you need to be aware of. That's something that I might actually do.

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So if that interests you, You do let me know. Maybe contact me and let me know, and I'll take that into consideration as well. With that said let's jump into this right away, right? So when we say online businesses a lot of people for some reason get the notion that online business. Might not be very serious or because it's online, it's not a brick and mortar, tar kind of a traditional business.

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They don't necessarily have to comply with the rules. They don't have to [00:02:00] comply with the regulations. They don't need to worry about basically about legal precautions. Another train of thought that I've seen exists in this world is that, hey, so and so doesn't do this, and they've been having no problems.

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Like they had no legal troubles for however many years they've been at this. That's all great and dandy, right? However, just because one person gets away with something doesn't mean you will get away with that same something. And then there's also the question, how long are they going to get away with that?

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Maybe they get away with that for two years, three years, five years. What happens later? What happens if 10 years down the line, I mean, it's a little dramatic, but the chance always exists, right? What happens is several years down the line, they do get in trouble. Now they have invested all that time, effort, energy, resources, money into growing their business.

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And then because of this [00:03:00] legal technicality, because they didn't actually take the time to make sure that they're compliant or protected, they get in trouble. Now, best case scenario, they get fined. Worst case scenario, they get fined and their business gets shut down. Now, due to the nature of my profession I'm an attorney.

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I'm extremely risk averse person. I don't think it's worth taking a risk. I don't think it's worth saying, well, what if this doesn't happen? I think more along the lines of what if this happens? Can I afford for this to happen? , isn't it better for me to actually do this thing, take the time to make sure that I'm doing this thing correctly, that I am protecting my business myself legally, that I'm complying with this one or two regulations so that I can avoid being held liable in the future and potentially losing my business over. What if I don't get caught? What if [00:04:00] I can get away with this? So different trains of thoughts, different mentalities, right? You do you whatever works for you. However, I will advise that if you are somebody who's doing what you're doing at the moment, meaning your business as an actual business, you mean for this to become source of income, you mean for this to continue, maybe even become something of a generational wealth that you can pass on to later on. Right? Then you might wanna consider being compliant, being protected legally. If, however whatever you're doing at the moment is just a mere hobby. And you know that, tomorrow you're going to wake up and say, I'm tired of this. I'm going to stop doing this. Or, you know what that YouTube showed that I was doing for my business, I'm not going to do anymore. In fact, I'm done with this whole thing. If that's where you are at, then okay, maybe legal protection and compliance is not on top of the things for you to do, right?

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It's not. Top top of your [00:05:00] to-do list. However, if you are serious about your business, then I highly recommend you're protected legally. So let's move forward. I do have, by the way, so many per stories of people that I know personally. Not even hearsay. I'm not talking about stories that I've heard from a friend of a friend of a friend that something happened to them.

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I'm talking about ano actual business owners who have Being held liable for several things along the line. And as soon as I get to those points when we're listing, I'll tell you a little bit about those cases. Obviously I'll leave out names and all that, but I'll tell you what happened, what the end result was, and how much they had to spend in order to get out of that legal jam that they found themselves in.

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So let's start with the easiest and most obvious thing that you need to be aware of and make sure that you're complying with when it comes to online businesses. If you are an online business, you have. [00:06:00] a website or I hope you have a website. You should have a website, let's put it that way. Funnels and all of that, these are great, but the website is where you brand yourself.

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So you need to have a website in order to, you know, present to the world this serious image of you as a business So if you have a website, you need to have what we call website policies. Now, the website policies are some of them are legally necessary, as in you have to absolutely have to have it on your website, while others, even though legally not required, are highly recommended because they will help you limit the liability.

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They will save you. In other words, if there is any misunderstanding down the line. So the policy that is legally required for you to have up on your website is the privacy policy. Privacy policy obviously will go into it, what it is, what you need to [00:07:00] know about it, but it's. Extremely necessary. It is required by law.

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And if you have a website without a privacy policy, my friend, run out there and get yourself a privacy policy. Either get a template written by an attorney or a hire an attorney to write one for you. Just a quick tip. There are a lot of online resources out there like policy generators that promise you to have a legally compliant privacy policy.

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I have personally reviewed probably 30, 40 of those online generators that produce privacy policies for you. Majority, if not all, of. We're not good enough. They would not protect you because they were missing some of the most basic and essential clauses in them in order for your privacy policy to be considered even remotely compliant with the privacy laws.

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So just something for you to know if you are going to get a template. Get it from an [00:08:00] attorney. Moreover, get it from an attorney who is actually familiar with online businesses. Once again, there is a lot that goes into online businesses that some traditional businesses do not have to deal with, so make sure to take that into consideration or obviously, Best case scenario, you hire an attorney to write a custom privacy policy for you.

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A little bit more expensive route, but obviously the best one. Second, best one would be a legal template. Let's move on. The other policy that you need to have up on your website is a disclaimer policy. . And again, we'll go into detail what this is. And another one that is highly, highly recommended, even though not legally necessary, is the terms and conditions or terms of use agreement.

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This terms and conditions is one of the most important policies that will help you limit your liability, that will get you out of a lot of legal jams if this is written [00:09:00] correctly. Okay, so it's something to keep in mind. And now aside from website policies, obviously online businesses similar to traditional businesses out there need to worry about business formations.

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Business formation refers to the structure of your business. Are you going to operate as a sole proprietor? Are you going to maybe open an LLC for you, limited liability company? Maybe you are partners with someone. Is it a partnership? Is it a general partnership, limited liability partnership? Or maybe you have a corporation is it a C corporation?

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Is it an S corporation? And so on and so forth. So when it comes to business formation, we're talking about the business structures that you're going to have for your business. And depending on your business, depending on your goals and purpose for your business one type of business form or formation might work.

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Better for you than others. We'll get to this. In fact, I'm going to do a whole entire episode on this [00:10:00] topic, down the line for you to get an idea as to which form of business is the best one for you. So let's move forward the next. Point that I wanna make when it comes to legal issues that you need to consider as an online business are your intellectually intellectual property rights, intellectual property rights are.

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The most valuable rights your business has and owns as a business. Your intellectual property is what makes your business valuable. It's what brings that price tag higher for your business. Intellectual property refers to things such as your copyrights, your trademarks, your patents, if you have any, and your trade secrets if you have any.

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A copyright is a right that is actually protected in a constitution. The rest are not in a constitution, but it does not make them any less important. Your trademarks are, I would argue that one of the most important, [00:11:00] the absolute most important intellectual property that you can own, because it is it.

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It brings value to your entire brand. In fact, trademark is what protects your brand and gives you ownership of your brand. But as an online business, you are going to have a lot of intellectual property to deal with. So first and foremost, you're going to have a lot of content, a lot of works of authorship, which original authorship refers to the copyrights.

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I hope you [00:49:00] took some notes. In any case, each episode will have transcripts in place so you can follow along with the transcript as well, if that's easier for you. It was an absolute pleasure talking to you and I look forward to our next chat together.

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