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National Cyber Law Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

National Cyber Law Attorney

Internet Lawyer Assisting Clients in Florida and Nationwide

Cyber law attorneys handle a broad range of legal matters regarding technology and the Internet. For example, at Nelson Cyber Law, we work closely with clients to protect their intellectual property, favorably resolve domain disputes, ensure that their online contracts protect their interests while complying with federal and state laws and regulations, handle online defamation cases, and address hacking and digital torts claims. We can help you answer the following questions and more regarding cyber law:

Is the content on my website automatically copyrighted?

Once a creative work is written, drawn, designed, recorded, or otherwise placed into tangible expression, a copyright exists on the work. However, while the content on your website is copyrighted, the site owner cannot sue another party for copyright infringement unless the content is registered (or in the process of being registered) through the U.S. Copyright Office. Registration also makes statutory damages available for infringement and grants a legal presumption that a copyright is valid.

Should I register my trademark at the federal level, or is state registration sufficient?

Organizations that want to register their trademark can do so at either the state or federal level. Registering a trademark with your state is more straightforward and less complex than federal registration, but the protection is limited to just that state. If you want to protect your trademark from being infringed upon by another party online, it is best to have it registered through the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO).

How do I know if I have a trademark infringement case?

Trademark infringement may have occurred if the following factors are present:

  • You have a protectable interest in a Mark that indicates or distinguishes the source of your goods or services from others in the marketplace;
  • Another party is using your Mark (or one that is confusingly similar) to sell competing products or services; and
  • The other party's commercial use of the Mark has caused a likelihood of confusion as to the source of their goods or services – such as a likelihood that consumers would think the other party's goods or services are affiliated or sponsored by you.

If you believe that your trademark is being infringed upon, the first step is to speak with a skilled cyber law attorney to discuss your enforcement options.

How do I know if my organization's confidential information is a trade secret?

In general, confidential knowledge that is economically valuable because it isn't generally known may be considered a trade secret. This may include information, recipes, formulas, patterns, algorithms, sales processes, vendor/supplier lists, client lists, and customer profiles. To qualify as a trade secret, a reasonable effort must be made (on the part of you or your organization) to keep this information secret from competitors and the general public.

If someone is using my trademarked name in their domain, what is the best way to make them stop?

Domain disputes can often be resolved with a stern "cease and desist" letter asking the other party to stop using the domain. If that does not work, there are two available legal avenues:

  • Uniform Domain-Name Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) through I-CANN
  • Pursuing judicial relief under the Anti-Cybersquatting Consumer Protection Act (ACPA)

The UDRP process is a faster and less expensive process that is beneficial if your end goal is to compel the other party to stop using your trademarked name. However, if the dispute is very complex or you want to pursue damages or injunctive relief against the offending party, a more complex ACPA action would likely be necessary.

If the parties of an online contract are in different states, by which state law is the contract governed?

In most online contracts, there is a specific provision (commonly known as the "choice of law" or "governing law" provision) that explicitly states the jurisdiction in which all questions and disputes are resolved. If there is no such provision, the jurisdiction may depend on the type of contract, nature of the dispute, and other facts of that particular case. Whenever a party enters into an online contract, it is always recommended that it be reviewed by an attorney to ensure that the jurisdiction for dispute resolution is clearly spelled out, and that their best interests are fully protected.

Does my website really need a terms of service (TOS) agreement and privacy policy?

If you do business online, you have a legal relationship with everyone who visits your website. Without a terms of service agreement, you open yourself up to potentially massive legal exposure. For website owners, it is best to have a TOS agreement drafted by a cyber law attorney and customized to the specifics of your online business. It is also best practice to have a privacy policy in place that controls how personally identifiable information is handled.

There are several additional contracts and policies that you should consider placing on your website, including:

What is the advantage of having a master services agreement (MSA)?

When entering into an ongoing business relationship with another company online, it is helpful to have a master services agreement that spells out most of the general terms and conditions of that relationship. This allows you to expedite future agreements because you only need to cover specific points not already addressed in the MSA.

Is online defamation governed by federal or state law?

There are no federal criminal defamation or insult laws. Florida and 16 other states have criminal defamation laws on the books. In Florida, defamation is generally a false statement of fact about the plaintiff, communicated to a third party, that at least negligently causes harm to the reputation or well being of the plaintiff. Damages available include compensatory damages and, in the most egregious cases, punitive damages.

If the private data of my customers are stored by a third party and get hacked, who is liable?

It depends on the specific circumstances of the incident. That said, in recent years, the FTC has been fining business owners who are hacked, even when it is not their fault. The best practice for online business owners is to work with a skilled cyber law attorney before any breach occurs. That way, they can develop a sound strategy to deal with such incidents in a way that minimizes legal exposure.

Have additional questions? The online world is continually evolving. At Nelson Cyber Law, we work tirelessly to stay informed of all of the latest digital trends, so we can provide the strongest possible representation for our clients. If you need help with any type of Internet-related legal matter, contact our office today at 1-800-440-5536 to set up a personalized consultation.

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