The internet is a place ripe with intellectual property issues

Glenn W. Peterson

Now more than ever, being online is an important part of life. Many here in California and elsewhere rely on e-commerce to get the goods they need. This makes businesses that primarily use the internet more vulnerable to intellectual property issues.

For some, it means the possibility of infringement or exposure of trade secrets. For others, it means the inadvertent and unintentional infringement of another party’s legally protected materials. With things changing rapidly and moving quickly, it can be easy to put material out on the internet before applying for and obtaining protection for it.

Many more will somehow violate intellectual property laws, however. When setting up an online presence, business owners will often use images and product descriptions without thinking twice. Perhaps it seems like a good idea to add a little music to the website to make it more attractive. Doing any of these things without first ascertaining whether permission is needed to do so could result in a costly violation. In order to avoid violations, a website owner should make sure any content on the site is in the public domain, covered under fair use, or is owned or licensed by the site owner.

When setting up an e-commerce site on the internet, a California business owner may want to take a good look at the site to make sure it does not contain any intellectual property belonging to someone else. This is not always an easy task. To make things easier, it would help to review the website and its contents with an attorney experienced in this area of law.