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Top Ten Internet Legal Mistakes-Disclaimers

10. No Website Disclaimer

Liability: Liability associated with having an ineffective website disclaimer depends on the type of disclaimer needed and the resulting damage. Problems arise when a website reasonably leads someone to believe something that ends up causing them damage. If the website causes them to forego an opportunity or take some action based upon information provided on the website, the website owner can be held liable. Disclaimers typically relate to errors or omissions on the website, third party links and the website not constituting an engagement of any kind.

While it is a good idea to include all necessary disclaimers, too many disclaimers can lead to additional problems. In theory, nearly every legal issue could be the subject of disclaimer. Including irrelevant, redundant or non-applicable items in disclaimers can diminish the legal effectiveness of the most important disclaimers. This type of overkill can potentially destroy the liability insulation the disclaimers were designed to provide.

Solution: While some websites may not need any disclaimer, others may need very broad and detailed disclaimers. Determining the appropriate metes and bounds of the desired disclaimer, without going overboard is often difficult. Drafting proper disclaimers requires a thorough review of the information contained on the website, as well as the circumstances surrounding the collection, distribution and presentation of information in association therewith.

While there are millions of examples online, drafting a disclaimer that fits your company precisely typically takes an attorney knowledgable about your particular website and well versed in the dos and don’ts of online disclaimers. If you have any doubts about the applicability of your website disclaimer, contact your lawyer. The value of a professionally drafted online disclaimer in a lawsuit far outweighs the relatively minimal (in mostcases) cost. Tomorrow. 9. Privacy Breaches.

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