Information Technology 

In recent years, the burgeoning tech industry has given rise to a number of potential legal pitfalls for software developers and e-commerce businesses. We can assist you in navigating the laws and regulations that govern these growing industries and provide you with sound commercial advice for the growth of your tech ventures.

Developing Software

Any agreement for the sale or provision of software should be tailored to how it is being delivered to, and used by, your clients.

In developing software for a client, a software development agreement is necessary, not only to set out what software you are developing and providing, but to make clear the deadlines for each stage of its development, when payment for each stage is to take place and who the responsible party is in relation to acceptance testing.

If the client’s expectations are not clearly set out from the start, any ambiguities in the timing and procedure for developing your software may cause unnecessary disputes and delays.

Delivering Software

If you have developed software and are looking to provide it to clients and end-users, it can be difficult to know what documentation should accompany your product, whether it be a supply, licencing or software-as-a-service agreement.

A software-as-a-service agreement, or SaaS, may be applicable if you intend to allow clients and users to access your software via subscription to a cloud-based platform. A SaaS agreement can be customised to include how end-users will be accessing the software, when and how any subscription fee is paid and any appropriate intellectual property protections.

If your software allows for the creation of user-generated content, you may wish to include a clause which allows you to remove any content which may infringe upon another person’s copyright or which may be deemed defamatory.

Any agreement for the provision of software should be suited to the method of its delivery, and so expert legal advice should be sought as to what agreement best suits your software.

Data Privacy & eCommerce

What happens to your information when you use it online?

This is a great concern in the modern world and in the operation of your online business, you may be the one collecting data and personal information.

If your business or organisation is one which is covered by the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth), you may be required to have a privacy policy. This may be the case even if you are collecting simple information such as emails, telephone numbers and other basic contact details. These statements will often be included on your company’s website and explain what information you collect, what you use it for and how it is stored.

In addition to this obligation, you may also need to comply with the Australian Privacy Principles and may be subject to penalties and regulatory action if you fail to do so.

You may have further obligations if your eCommerce business extends to international clients. One such example of these further obligations may be contained in the General Data Regulation Protection, which regulates data collection of people living in the European Union and can be applicable to Australian businesses.

It is essential that you know what obligations you have in relation to the data and personal information you collect from your customers, so that you can comply with these obligations and not be stung by any avoidable penalties.

Website terms and conditions

Website terms and conditions are important to set out the legal relationship between a website owner and visitor. Terms can provide conditions regarding use of the website and may help to minimise a website owner’s liability. They can disclose how confidential information is collected and used and may also include terms and conditions for the purchase of products or services.

Website terms and conditions should be tailored to the individual needs of the business and the on-line activities contemplated through the website. For example:

  • Conditions of use – these terms spell out the conditions of using the website and set boundaries regarding acceptable use. They include prohibitions against using the website or its contents for illegal purposes and restrict the manner in which the information contained on the website may be used.

Your website will generally include content, designs, logos and branding constituting the intellectual property of your business. This is a valuable commodity and conditions should guard against exploitation and infringement.

  • Privacy policy – a statement regarding the collection and use of confidential information and that the website owner will comply with applicable privacy rules.
  • Disclaimers – if your website contains information, facts or claims then it is important that your readers are prevented from seeking compensation as a result of having relied on that information to their detriment. These clauses should provide broad protection to the website owner from liability arising from claims by a user or third party.

We are a boutique firm specialising in intellectual property and information technology services. We work with creatives, providing a range of technology commercialisation and IP services to ensure their ideas and brands are promoted and protected and their business ventures run smoothly.

If you need any assistance, contact [email protected] or call 0488 086 006 for expert legal advice.