10 Tips for Selling Information Legally
Do you sell (or market) information? You probably do, or at least could do. Anyone from a lawyer, accountant, web developer, trainer or marketing consultant can sell information.
Some people sell this information face to face (or even give it away), some sell it in books, some via CDs and many more on-line and an increasing amount of people sell information via an e-book (effectively a book you can download from a website). In this article we concentrate on selling information in the form of an e-book but all the issues are the same whatever format you sell your information in.
There are all the normal legal issues that apply and more. We can?t cover them all in an article and often detailed advice is needed but these are our Top Ten Tips to keep out of Court and in the info-selling business:
1. Check your business insurance covers selling an e-book or even just giving information on your website, many exclude items such as ?things not usual in your business?. Some even explicitly exclude websites.
2. Try to limit your liability. You can do this by using careful and well drawn up conditions in a contract.
3. Try to make clear in the e-book that, presumably, the e-book is only information and not advice. (And don?t forget to take advice yourself!)
4. Register (or at the very least) comply with the Data Protection Act. You will be collecting data about the people who buy from you?at least you certainly should be as you will amass significant information about people who: 1. are interested in your subject, 2. will buy a book on it and 3 will buy on-line. That?s valuable information for future use. If you are not registered you will have much less flexibility in what you can do with the data and if you don?t comply with the Act then you may well get into serious trouble.
5. Make sure your marketing is legally compliant. For example don?t send e-mails to people who haven?t agreed to have them and do check any telephone numbers or addresses you buy for marketing purposes with the mailing and telephone preference services.
6. Make sure you protect your copyright in your book.
7. Pressing ?ctrl? and ?alt? and ?c? will give you that nice little © sign for your work! (It doesn?t really have any legal effect but many potential copiers think it does, so use it).
8. Make certain that you are not publishing someone else?s intellectual property - who owns the photos, are you copying someone else?s copyrighted work?
9. If you?ve provided the information and an independent person / business has put it into software, who owns the copyright in the e-book? They do! Get it transferred to you preferably via a software development agreement.
10. Make sure that even when you have good legal wording you ?capture? the agreement of the buyer correctly. Some sites simply have a link to ?terms and conditions?, that is not good enough. There is no definite rule about what is good enough but we suggest you get the buyer to undergo some sort of ?mental connection? with the terms, so e.g. get them to click a paragraph about them. What that paragraph should contain is a major subject in itself so do take advice.
E-books can be a great way to spread your ideas, market your business and generate income and whilst there are some areas to watch out for the benefits of selling information on-line surely outweigh those risks and are probably no more than selling off-line. Take good legal advice and these risks can be minimised and your profits protected.To get more details contact Stuart McIntosh on 0121 308 2118 or email email@example.com.
This article courtesy of http://www.mentzlaw.com.
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* Government Statistics on Legal Verdicts and Jury Awards - $ U.S. district courts terminated approximately 512,000 civil cases during fiscal years 2002-03. Nearly 20% or 98,786 of these cases were torts in which plaintiffs claimed injury, loss, or damage from a defendant’s negligent or intentional acts. $ Of the 98,786 tort cases terminated in U.S. district courts in 2002-03, about 2% or 1,647 cases were decided by a bench or jury trial. $ An estimated 9 out of 10 tort trials involved personal injury issues C most frequently, product liability, motor vehicle (accident), marine, and medical malpractice cases. $ Juries decided about 71% of all tort cases brought to trial in U.S. district courts; judges adjudicated the remaining 29%. $ Plaintiffs won in 48% of tort trials terminated in U.S. district courts in 2002-03. Plaintiffs won less frequently in medical malpractice (37%) and product liability (34%) trials. $ Eighty-four percent of plaintiff winners received monetary damages with an estimated median award of $201,000. $ Plaintiffs won more often in bench (54%) than in jury (46%) tort trials. The estimated median damage awards were higher in jury ($244,000) than in bench ($150,000) tort trials.
April 2006 - A Jury in New Jersey found last week that Vioxx significantly contributed to a 77-year-old man's heart attack awarded him $9 million in punitive damages yesterday, raising Merck & Co.'s liability in the case to $13.5 million and intensifying pressure on it to settle such lawsuits.
Example of Personal Injury Case 2004 : Ford Explorer rollover-prone and roof not crash safe and worthy- CASE TYPE : Product Design Defect, Auto Truck Vehicle - SUV,
Motor Vehicle – Rollover CASE : Buell-Wilson v. Ford Motor Co., San Diego Co.,
Calif., Super. Ct. GIC 800836 Los Angeles, Calif.
JURY VERDICT: $369,000,000 (369 Millions Dolalrs
2005 - In what may be one of the biggest massive medical malpractice tort verdicts in the state of Texas, a state jury awarded $606 million - including a remarkable $ 600 million dollars in punitive damages - to the family of an 82-year-old patient who had cancer and then who died after receiving an overdose of chemotherapy drugs.
2005 - In the 9th big loss for Ford in SUV Explorer rollover cases, a Florida jury awarded $61.2 million to the parents of an 18-year-old boy who was killed in a 1997 (wrongful death & Product Defect and Product Liability Issues)
Example of Personal Injury Lawyer Case 2004 : Dodge Caravan seatback collapsed on baby in a car-seat - CASE TYPE : Automobiles, Products Liability -
Product Design Defect, Wrongful Death, Motor Vehicle -
Rear-ender, Motor Vehicle - Passenger, Motor Vehicle - Minivan
CASE : Flax v. DaimlerChrysler Corp., Davidson Co., Tenn., Cir. Ct. O2C-1288
JURY VERDICT : $105,500,000 (105 Million Dollars
2005 – Billion Dollar Verdicts - In one of 2005's largest verdicts to an individual plaintiff regarding financial fraud , a Florida jury ordered Morgan Stanley Broker Dealer to pay $1.45 billion to investor Ronald O. Perelman for defrauding him in the sale of his camping gear company - Coleman.
2005 - February, a prominent Houston law firm and a Texas bank were SMACKED and Beaten with a $65.5 million verdict in a highly complex estate planning case that involved major problems and conflicts of interest. (65 million dollar jury award)
2005 – 3 years after a jury acquitted a company in Florida of manslaughter and criminal charges, a Florida civil jury SLAMMED the outdoor advertiser with a $65 million jury award verdict for the shock and electrocution of a sixth-grade boy.
Age Discrimination - In December, a Los Angeles California jury found that PrivatAir - an aviation company focusing on private airline services - wrongfully fired Captain Doyle D. Baker on the basis of his age, defaming him in the termination process and causing extreme emotional distress.
Punitive damages serve a number of important functions which—despite a few horror stories, which are themselves either apocryphal or overturned in the courts, the functions remain valid and in the public interest. Persons causing great harm—persons deliberately or with gross negligence causing great harm should not view paying damages as merely a cost of doing business, a cost that might fit neatly into a risk analysis of wrongdoing. That is what happened in the Ford Pinto case in which the cost of paying claims to victims of a known deadly hazard was deemed less than the cost to retool the assembly line, and thus the hazard was maintained knowing full well that further people—more people would be injured or killed.
This is the purpose of punitive damages, to punish this kind of egregious wrongdoing, and to deter, to be a deterrent to such conduct. It is not immediately clear why a deterrent—or the necessity of the deterrent should bear any great relationship to the amount of actual damages in a given case. There is nothing wrong and indeed something highly desirable in maintaining this disincentive to wrongdoing in an appropriate relationship to the harm and the conduct of the tort-feasor. This trend has led one commentator to suggest that ''[p]unitive damages have replaced baseball as our national sport.'' Theodore B. Olson, Rule of Law: The Dangerous National Sport of Punitive Damages, Wall St. J., Oct. 5, 1994, at A17. See also Malcolm E. Wheeler, A Proposal for Further Common Law Development of the Use of Punitive Damages in Modern Products Liability Litigation, 40 Ala. L. Rev. 919, 919 (1989) (''Today, hardly a month goes by without a multimillion-dollar punitive damages verdict in a product liability case.'').