There are very few businesses in existence today that can function without the Internet or an Internet attorney. The new technologies involving digital communications and the way they are utilized by business are constantly changing. With this emerging technology comes the need for laws to regulate the activities of companies conducting business online and around the world.
The Internet introduced new methods for companies to conduct business but also created several new challenges that demand legal solutions and explanations. For example, computers can store large amounts of data, which can become a problem if this information gets into the wrong hands.
It is important for businesses to understand cyberspace law. Hiring an Internet attorney who is qualified to keep companies in compliance with internet business law is a critical step in protecting those companies from individuals involved in fraudulent online activities. Cyber laws govern legal issues involving data protection and privacy, cybercrime, electronic commerce, and intellectual property.
Banks, government agencies, hospitals, and all other business big and small are concerned about the issues that cyber laws can address. Cyber threats are real and complex. Accidental cyber threats may occur, as well as intentional attacks to hurt the flow of business. Perpetrators can be recreational hackers or international terrorists. For this reason, there are laws in place to protect businesses and persecute offenders. A business internet attorney can help you navigate these complicated areas of the law and protect your business from threats unseen, but very much real.
E-Commerce is Booming
E-commerce, or business transactions that take place over the internet, is growing every day. With this growth comes the dire need to regulate business transactions that take place in cyberspace. Large companies, small firms, entrepreneurs, and startup companies all need to stay abreast of the laws governing their actions over the internet.
Any form of business online can be considered e-commerce. It can involve Business to Business (B2B), Business to Consumer (B2C) or Consumer to Consumer (C2C) transactions. Examples of e-commerce transactions may include:
- Online shopping: Buying and selling goods or services on the Internet
- Electronic payments: Paying for products online
- Internet banking: Conducting banking transactions online
- Online ticketing: Purchasing tickets for travel, sporting venues, or hotels
- Mobile commerce: Transacting business while utilizing mobile devices with access to the Internet
There are many legal issues that can arise during an e-commerce business transaction that may include:
- Liability of Internet providers: Internet service providers may be liable when online internet problems happen during a contract formation.
- Security and digital signatures: Digital signatures provide authentication of individuals involved in an e-commerce transaction.
- Contract formation and development: Legal concerns may arise when developing an electronic contract.
The Internet has created new opportunities that impact our economy and business growth, but it has also opened the door to fraudulent activities that can hurt your business and your bottom line. Some of these illegal activities may include the following.
Data breaches can range from hackers entering a corporate network system to an unauthorized staff member viewing sensitive or personal information about another employee. There are several laws and regulations dictating how sensitive information should be handled and the consequences for not following legal procedures. If a person who is not authorized to view sensitive material does just that, the company responsible for keeping the information confidential has experienced a data breach. If the data breach causes identify theft or other violations, the company may face fines as well as civil or criminal charges.
Companies need to be familiar with a strange term – cybersquatting. It can affect your business and impact your domain name. Cybersquatting occurs when a person uses, purchases, registers, or traffics a domain name that is similar to another individual’s trademark or name. Cybersquatting is also known as reverse domain hijacking, and it is illegal. Often, the culprit may purchase a domain with the purpose of reselling that domain to the highest bidder. In some cases, the offender will try to sell the domain name back to the firm or individual who owns the trademarked name just to make a profit.
If an individual or company has been a victim of cybersquatting, they are protected by the Anticybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA) of 1999. This law gives you the right to sue. ACPA states that “trademark holders now have a cause of action against anyone who, with a bad faith intent to profit from the goodwill of another’s trademark, registers, traffics in, or uses a domain name that is identical to, or confusingly similar to a distinctive mark, or dilutive of a famous mark, without regard to the goods or services of the parties.” ACPA discusses the circumstances that suggest “bad faith intent.” To find out more about ACPA and how it protects the rights of trademark holders, click here. If a judge rules in the trademark holder’s favor, the perpetrator of cybersquatting could face fines up to $100,000. An Internet attorney can explain ACPA and how the law impacts your specific situation.
Trademark infringement is becoming a growing problem. According to the United States Patent & Trademark Office (USPTO), “Trademark infringement is the unauthorized use of a trademark or service mark on or in connection with goods and/or services in a manner that is likely to cause confusion, deception, or mistake about the source of the goods and/or services.” A trademark owner who suspects that his or her trademark has been infringed upon may file a civil action in state or federal court. If proven, the remedies may include:
- A court injunction that orders the offender to stop using the mark in question
- An order mandating the destruction or removal of infringing articles
- Monetary relief, which includes any profits made by the infringement and damages to the plaintiff.
- An order that requires a defendant to pay the attorney fees of the plaintiff
As people continue to use the internet for business purposes, more laws are being put in place to protect companies from cybercrimes, fraud, and other online violations. These laws are redefining how companies and individuals access and use the Internet as well as maintain online privacy. Companies need to hire an Internet attorney who can interpret these laws.
Contact the professionals at Revision Legal to help you with these complex issues relating to your online business. We can be reached by using the form on this page or by calling us at 855-473-8474.