I’ve bumped into several elements for Swayable.com where I have been stumped on who to contact, and where to find the right resources. The legal documentation/contracts piece was one of them.
When I started Swayable.com, I knew that I had to get the correct legal representation this site as it’s complex in regards to user generated content, user accounts etc. I knew at a minimum I’d I need to have:
- Developer/Designer contracts to make sure that all content I outsourced was “work for hire”
I found it very challenging to find an attorney who understands Internet law and terminology. Internet law is was not something that the average lawyer understands, (they think they do, but within 5 minutes you can tell if they “get” the web component or not).
I wanted to make sure that I’ve protected myself personally, as well as the company by having all my legal documentation buttoned up. This is not an area where you want to try to cut corners and use templates available online.
I was frustrated early on after talking to several local lawyers. So I searched Bing for web 2.0 lawyers & Internet law and found a fabulous one in the Bay area named Darlene Dozier. Literally within 5 minutes of talking with her, I could tell she completely understood the web landscape, terminology, API integration aspects, etc. I didn’t have to spend $300/hour explaining how all these services can integrate within my site to an attorney that doesn’t get it. Darlene got it from our first 5 minute conversation.
My disclaimer – I’m not an attorney (clearly) but I do know that having all your legal elements for your startup correct from the get go is huge. You need to own all work for hire elements and it needs to be documented. You need a clean paper trail.
Make sure to do your research, find an attorney that truly understands internet law and the tech startup industry, or your going to spend a lot of money explaining things and getting documentation that isn’t quite right for your business.