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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    8

    Default Starting a Website With Reviews of Products and Businesses

    My question involves business law in the state of: California. (If a website is accessible worldwide, how would this affect the answer to this question?)

    I am creating a website that collects user reviews of companies and their products. In a Yelp.com type format, the site will provide the page listing the company and any products, and users will comment on the quality of that company and/or its products.

    1. Do I need permission to display these companies and products for users' review? And can I display company names, logos, links to their website etc.?

    2. Since the site isn't responsible for generating the content, am I liable for my users' reviews and any laws they might break say in a forum or blog post?

    3. Anything else I should be concerned with from a legal aspect?

    Any sources would be appreciated. Also, what area of law would these issues fall under, and how much would it cost to hire an attorney to deal with these issues?

    THANK YOU!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Starting a Website With Reviews of Products and Businesses

    You can use product images and trademarks in association with bona fide reviews. But you need to keep in mind that you don't have the right to grab other people's images - if you want to use product images from online sources research the cases that allow sites like Google to present thumbnails, buy a camera, or make sure your pictures are duly licensed. Manufacturers do make pictures available to vendors, but i can't promise they'll be interested in making them available to you.

    You will want to research the safe harbor provisions of the CDA relating to defamation claims based upon user-generated content, and register your DMCA agent with the United States Copyright Office and respond appropriately to any DMCA take-down notices you receive.

    In terms of "anything else", there's always something else to be concerned about. Laws vary by nation, so you'll need to learn the laws of every nation in which you do business.

    If you want to find out how much it will cost a lawyer, start calling law offices and describing your needs.

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