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Understanding Home Based Online Business Legal Issues

Aug 17, 2007
A home based online business has to legally comply with the same regulations as an offline business from any other location. Below are the basic legal issues with which a real home based Internet business owner must be familiar.

The first one, a real concern for any home Internet business is the age restriction. The U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) follows regulations spelled out in COPPA, the Children Online Privacy Protection Act.

The above act requires that children under the age of 13 cannot disclose their personal information unless a parent consents to it. Children under 18 years of age cannot, under any circumstances, be allowed to view pornographic content on the Internet, nor are they allowed to enter into any contract.

Real time occurrences on the Web, including chats and forums, must be carefully controlled by the home based Internet business owner. Bulletin boards will have the same control issues.

The rules of using each should very clearly solicit and retain the consent of each online user to refrain from posting pornography. Also, in this category are, defamatory or hate material or anything that infringes on the rights of others.

It is probably not a law and may never be so but respecting, truthfulness and fairness to other human beings should be a serious concern also.

Your company should also clearly state, on its site, that you are not liable for other users that commit to following your policies and guidelines but subsequently violate them. I always keep a sharp eye out on my web sites for this anyway and hope others will do the same.

We should all keep an eye out to preserve the integrity of the internet for all of us.

To make your ownership of all property real and keep content rights safe, on your home based business Internet site, you will need a copyright notice on the site footer, maybe on every page. The notice should clearly have the date, your name and the statement, All rights reserved.

A real copy of your business online site should be filed with the U.S. copyright office. This will effectively record ownership of the site contents, as well as its look and its feel. Incidentally, this will instill confidence in your site visitors that you are sincere about having a worthy web site.

Your site domain name is a dramatically important part of the branding and marketing for your Internet business. It is best to tie that domain name as closely as possible to your logo, your brand and your business name. This is so very important.

Carefully choose a domain name that clearly conveys the products or services of your real home based Internet business. It is the beginning of every sale or donation you ever get from your home business.

It is your very valuable headline. Register your domain name as a trademark and you can retain ownership should it be challenged by another business. Sometimes this will happen.

Your site is on the World Wide Web so you must comply with export regulations. If you sell goods over the Internet to these global consumers, which you should want to do, then you are exporting items for sale and entering into international countries and commerce. Your market increases by hundreds of millions of flesh and blood humans.

If your site is encrypted then you are exporting to other countries per U.S. Department of Commerce and Defense technology regulations. There are many U.S. federal agencies that have regulations in force.

Enforcement agencies are expected to enforce them with the intent of the law, for doing business with other countries. This is their job. Times and circumstances require a firm to get an export license to send information, technology or goods abroad.

Regarding other countries, there is now software on the internet that translates into many of the major world languages. If your web site can sell goods world wide you can use this software to major advantage to sell in many more places.

Your Google Ad Sense will be in other languages giving you more action also so many millions more prospects can read and buy from you. Your online pages will increase dramatically giving you far more links and exposure. Your Alexa rating will begin to rise. Understand the immense benefit from this.

There are countries with whom business transactions are limited severely for U.S. firms. These countries are Cuba, Iran, Iraq, North Korea, Syria and Yugoslavia.

Romania and Malaysia are rife with dishonesty on the internet. It is best to risk losing business with these two countries for now because your chances of being cheated are very high and not worth the risk with such poor odds that are not in your favor.

The best decision about the real problems you might encounter for your home based online business doing commerce with these countries and or the residents should be made with your attorney. Better yet, forget all of these until international relations with them get a lot better.
About the Author
James M. Lowe writes original articles about home business issues.
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