Whether you simply want to advertise your goods/services or are looking to provide a full e-commerce service, we can assist you in making the right impression.
Most businesses now have some form on-line presence and our experienced IT Solicitors are able to offer assistance whether you’re in the business of website development or hosting or you are simply looking to market your business/services.
Our Partners and Solicitors have a wealth of experience in acting for website developers, designers and hosting service providers. We are able to review, amend and advise on a variety of development, hosting and maintenance agreements. We can also offer practical guidance to businesses on contractual provisions and measures to have in place with website designers and developers to ensure that your website functions, is maintained and provides an appropriate online presence.
We are able to draft and advise on:
- Website Development and Hosting Arrangements;
- Domain Name Registration;
- Social Media Policies;
- Acceptance Testing;
- Support and Maintenance;
- IP Ownership;
Website Development and Hosting Arrangements
Website development covers a broad range of services from the provision of standard templates which may only require minor modifications in order to display a customer’s branding and content (“white-labelling”), to more complex and bespoke online platforms.
The nature of the online platform required will have a significant bearing on the contract that needs to be in place between the developer and the customer. Where a standard template website is provided the developer will normally have a standard contract which requires all of its customers to sign up to and the customer will have little, or, no ability to negotiate the terms of the same. This is to ensure consistency across the board for the developer. In these circumstances, it is also standard for the developer to retain ownership of all intellectual property rights in the coding and functionality of the website and simply licence the customer the right to use the same for a specific period of time. The website developer may also provide on-going maintenance updates to the website, usually for a monthly fee.
Where a website is to be developed for a customer in accordance with the customer’s detailed specifications, then the parties may negotiate and agree a bespoke contract for the development of the same. In such circumstances, ownership of the intellectual property rights requires careful consideration. The customer may wish to own all of the intellectual property rights in the end product however, the developer may need to retain certain rights for use within its business. The customer may also wish to undertake its own maintenance, updates, further developments and hosting (or get a third party to do so on its behalf) and these matters will need to be catered for. (For a more comprehensive overview of IP ownership please visit our IP page.)
A website development agreement should clearly set out what is being provided, who is responsible for the supply of materials and content and who will own the intellectual property rights in the various elements of the website.
If the developer is providing hosting facilities, this may be subject to separate terms and conditions. A customer can however look to host their own site or appoint a third party to do so on their behalf. When looking to appoint a hosting provider, businesses should consider what service levels are provided and what up time/availability is required. If the website is likely to be used predominantly outside of working hours then any support may need to cover such time period with maintenance being undertaken during quiet periods e.g. midnight to 4am.
Where a developer is sourcing a third party hosting facility on behalf of its customers then any obligations of the hosting provider need to be aligned to the obligations/service levels the developer has or intends to have in place with its customers.
Other points to consider with hosting facilities are:
- security and data protection;
- business continuity and disaster recovery;
- audit rights;
- service levels; and
- service credits.
Whether you are a hosting provider or are looking to appoint one, we are able to assist in reviewing and drafting the necessary documentation.
Social Media Policies
Social media is not confined to the IT sector and is a new area which many businesses are now looking to embrace. In doing so, you should ensure that you have the correct policies and procedures in place to ensure that if your staff are using social media sites as part of your business operations, this is done in a controlled and monitored manner to avoid bringing your business into disrepute. For further details on our Employment services please see our employment page.
If you are looking to sell goods or provide services and enter into contracts with your customers via your website then you will need specialist advice. Our IT Solicitors have a vast amount of experience in acting for businesses on their E-commerce requirements and website terms and conditions. We review, amend and draft a variety of the web specific documents and policies that a website may need to comply with.
For further information on the different website documents and policies, please see below:
- Website Terms and Conditions of Use;
- Privacy Policies;
- Distance Selling;
- The Supply of Goods/Services to Business (b2b);
- The Supply of Goods/Services to Consumer (b2c);