Web Site Construction: Are You Legal?

The SAXLAW Report
Fall 1998

If you're considering contracting the services of an independent web site developer to create your Internet presence, you'll have to consider the following legal and operational issues.

First, and most important, file to transfer the copyright of the completed web site. Recent case law is rife with examples of court battles in this area, and it's not worth your while to engage in them.

Next, get a grant of a license by the developer in the use of his or her confidential information and intellectual property which has been integrated into the web site. And while you're at it, obtain an indemnity from the developer against the use of defamatory, misleading, deceptive or objectionable material on the site.

To ensure prompt and efficient access to your site, be sure to set objective criteria in the areas of download rates, bandwidth usage, and response times. Customers will not visit your site on a regular basis if it persists in using up their prepaid Internet account credits.

Finally, some thought should be devoted to deciding in what city, state, or country your web site will be hosted. This should be done for both legal and tax purposes and will require independent legal advice. Depending on the business you are carrying on, it may be desirable to locate in a jurisdiction that minimizes both civil and tax liability while making it expensive for someone to commence litigation.

Once the site is developed you'll have to get it hosted and supported on a server that provides 24 hour, 7 day a week access. And be advised that depending on the intended use of the site, the costs of hosting it may vary. Then, establish the appropriate links to search engines such as Yahoo!, Excite, and Netscape. These will definitely increase the traffic to your site. For example, if you're selling consumer products, ‘Excite shopping' may be advantageous. There is software that can be purchased which will assist you in listing your site with hundreds of search engines.

The above list of issues, is not exhaustive. Cover yourself from the start and your only concerns will be commercial.


"When intelligence is the key property, it is also the great leveller. It means you don't have to be big or rich to get into the game."
--Tim Reid, President of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce, speaking on the potential revolution in business practice brought about by the advent of electronic commerce.

Globe and Mail 7/13/98

THE SAXLAW REPORT has been prepared by Michael M. Sax for information purposes only and does not constitute a legal opinion. This representation is not intended to create, and the receipt of it does not constitute a solicitor-client relationship. Readers should not act upon this information without seeking professional counsel. This information is forwarded on the basis and understanding that Michael M. Sax, Barrister & Solicitor is under no responsibility or liability whatsoever in respect thereof.