Will Your Website Land You in Court?

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/imagesub/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 879.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/imagesub/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/imagesub/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 589.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter_boolean_operator::value_validate() should be compatible with views_handler_filter::value_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/imagesub/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_boolean_operator.inc on line 149.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/imagesub/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/imagesub/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 135.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/imagesub/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 879.

Whilst the Web is a cost-effective way of reaching your audience, it also exposes you to significant potential liability, which increases with the need to create and edit content quickly and on an ongoing basis.  Your exposure is not just limited to customers and suppliers.

Competitors may scour through your on-line content looking for anything that might be in breach of the law, aiming to waste your time and resources by having you embroiled in a legal dispute or complaint to government regulators, such as the ACCC.

You need to ask:

  • What measures or systems do I have in place to ensure that I'm not breaking the law? 
  • Do I or my staff know what might be potentially misleading or deceiving that may put us in breach of the Trade Practices Act? 
  • Am I confident that my disclaimers, privacy policies and terms of use are clear and adequately do what they are meant to do? 

Here are some areas you should consider:

Accuracy of Claims

Is the communication written with any terminology (including technical) that is likely to confuse or mislead the target audience? For example:

  • a false or misleading representation concerning the need for any goods or services;
  • a false or misleading representation concerning the existence, exclusion or effect of any condition, warranty, guarantee, right or remedy.


Illegality of Claims

Is any of the content likely to affect the reputation or goodwill of any person, business or corporation?

Supporting Evidence

Do the people whose endorsement seems to be given, really intend to endorse the product?

Qualifiers + Disclaimers

Is clear prominence given to qualifications?
Is the wording of the qualifier or disclaimer unambiguous?

Overall Impression

Are all elements of the advertisement (copy, visuals, music and tone) consistent with the main claim?

Medium and Message

How is the target audience likely to receive the message and do you need to consider any special characteristics or vulnerability of the target audience?
Are you sure the selected media will not impact outside the target market?

Errors and + Omissions

Are you sure that there are no errors or any omissions that could create a false impression in the mind of the audience?

If you're unsure you need to obtain legal advice.  If you don't have a contact I can put you in touch with a team who have expertise in this area.

Don't leave it to chance.

 

© Hamish Chadwick, Image Substation 2009

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