Buying or Selling a Website: Possible Legal Issues
These days, it is very common for people to make profits by exploiting the monetary benefits of buying and selling websites. However, during most of these transactions, there is a high chance of occurrence of numerous possible legal issues, as both the buyer and the seller of the website don’t have any thorough knowledge as to what are the exact documents that need to be executed and how can accompanying legal issues be resolved.
In general, if you are looking to buy or sell a website, there are few basic and very important issues that are required to be taken care of. For example, it should be clear to both the seller and the buyer that whether the assets of the website form the part of the transaction or not. For example, the assets of the website may include domain name, customer list, email marketing list, social media usernames (facebook username, twitter username etc.), social media followers (facebook fans, twitter followers), and the like. If such assets do form the part of the transaction, those need to be valued very carefully as they may add significant value to the business activities promoted by the website.
Secondly, it is also very essential to clarify that whether the entity, i.e. the corporation or partnership firm or proprietor firm or legal entity, which owns the website, is a part of the transaction or not. Depending on the circumstances, there may exist various legal and/or personal liability issues depending upon how the sale / transaction of the website are structured.
Additionally, in case a part of the purchase amount is paid as upfront payments, how will the intellectual property (e.g. domain name, trademarks, patents copyrights, and the like) be protected if payments stop midway, i.e. who will own such intellectual property rights during the course of such transactions, the buyer or the seller.
Last, but not the least, in case a broker is involved in buying or selling of a website, both the parties need to be very diligent as website brokers may provide a significant advantage of connecting buyers and sellers together, but at the same time, they charge a commission for doing so. Therefore, the identity of the broker shall be duly verified, and there should be a clear understanding between both the parties as to which party is represented by the broker.
It is always exciting to buy websites if someone is looking to own a business, and it is equally rewarding to sell websites for monetary benefits, but you should be extra careful while planning and structuring the transaction so that your rights are well respected and protected during the entire process of buying or selling the website.
Generally, one of the easiest methods to select few websites related to your online business activities by searching for the relevant keywords/ key phrases on Google from different old and new sites with out of date content, which are still ranking on first few of the search results, and if things seem to work in your way, it is always a wise move to make the website owner a deceptively low offer for his site.
Accordingly, while buying or selling a website, is strongly advisable and recommended to utilize the services of a startup business attorney having significant exposure to latest laws and regulations, with expertise in handling complex business transactions involving intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, copyrights), funding, angel investments, venture capital, joint ventures, licensing, cross border mergers and acquisitions.
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