What law governs a website?

Discussion in 'Growing and Managing a Business' started by mikewelsh, Jun 8, 2011.

  1. mikewelsh

    mikewelsh
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    I heard that the law that governs a website is based on the country the website's server is hosted. Is that true?
     
  2. PaulPinnacle

    PaulPinnacle
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    I'm not a legal professional and this is not qualified legal advice. It's a mixture of opinion and experience, so take it all with a huge caveat attached.

    It somewhat depends on the site in question. As an Irish business, for example, I must comply with the relevant legislation here in Ireland for my own site regardless of where that site is hosted. So even if I'm with a US host, as an Irish business I'm still bound by the requirements of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement (ODCE) here in Ireland, along with whatever additional requirements may be placed on me due to the location of the hosting and the jurisdictional rules there. Depending on your own circumstances (commercial or personal site, your local jurisdiction and related regulations, location of customers you're serving local vs. global, etc.) a similar situation may arise, so it's not simply a question of where it's hosted.

    The finer point is what regulations you are subject to when it comes to things like privacy, data protection, email advertisements/spam, personally identifiable information, financial information and taxation. Here it really can become a mine field with major differences between the local rules and those in other areas. If you get in to the level of having to consider things like the Safe Harbor Principles and local EU data privacy laws, you either need to be willing to apply the 'worst case' (not really the right word, it's a 'best case' for your users. It's really a case of 'most onerous' and 'highest level of protection') scenario or else seek specific legal advice to ensure you're in compliance with the specific requirements that relate to your circumstances.
     
  3. GekiDan

    GekiDan
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    If I remember correctly, yes. I have heard a similar thing from various fansubbing sites who subtitles anime movies. With their servers hosted in the US, once they release a new anime episode, which is already licensed in the US, they receive a DMCA or request to take down the content. And to continue, they moved to a new server located on a different country.

    So basically, the content of your site is what matters most. If your site don't do something illegal, fear nothing.
     

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