Legal Risks involved in running a website

Running a website in Nigeria

There are a number of steps you need to put in place to manage the legal risks involved with having a website.

Firstly, you should ensure that your website has a Terms of Use, especially if your website is an ecommerce website. This is because the Terms of Use serves as the contract between your business and anyone who accesses the website. Important things which are included in a website terms of use include –

  • It sets out any restrictions on use of the information on your website,
  • It deals with issues of intellectual property of the content of the website
  • It normally sets out limitation of liability and includes disclaimers and warranties etc.

The next important step is ensuring that the website has a Privacy Policy. This is technically an Agreement between you and your customer (people who visit your website) which sets out how you will handle their information, what use you will put it to, etc. It is important because it lets the customer know what level of security and protection their data will get, and what measure of information they are legally and willingly parting with when they access your website. A standard privacy policy will cover things like:

  • What information is collected
  • How the information which is collected is used
  • How the information is stored
  • Circumstances where the information can be transferred to 3rd parties
  • Whether cookies are used on the site and to what extent

Also important from a liability perspective, is if the nature of the service or the product you offer is only licensed or applicable in certain jurisdictions, you need to ensure you put in place technical features like ‘geo-fencing’, age barriers etc. to ensure that only eligible website visitors can access your website. There is case law (admittedly not yet in Nigeria) of governments and regulators suing websites for not putting in place enough technical measures to restrict ineligible individuals from accessing websites.

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We hope you have found this information helpfulPlease note that this information is provided for general informational purposes only and is not intended to be legal advice. No lawyer-client relationship is formed nor should any such relationship be implied. It is not intended to substitute for the advice of a qualified lawyer. If you require legal advice, please consult with a qualified lawyer.

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