Media Release: Don’t Fiji “Bomb” Your Business

By | Business Contracts, Business Lawyer | No Comments

media release form modelAre you using others to promote your business without permission? When it comes to marketing your business, one of the key legal documents you’ll want in place is a media release for each person who appears in your promotional materials.

This includes photos and videos you use in advertising, customer testimonials, social media, etc.

What Can Happen If There’s No Media Release?

Because without a proper media release signed, you may end up owing a small fortune to the person whose likeness you used without permission.

For example, a grocery store got dunked for $10 million because they used basketball legend Michael Jordan’s photo in ads (he donated the money to charity).

Right now, there’s a lawsuit between Fiji Water and a model known as the photobombing “Fiji Water Girl” that’s about whether or not the company has the right to use the model’s likeness to promote their product. And it’s a mess because the company claims the only signed copy of the alleged release was apparently destroyed by the model.

Naturally, it isn’t just celebrities and models who can collect from you.

For example, a strip club used a woman’s photo, falsely implying she was one of their dancers. She sued the pants off the club.

Of course, the use without permission doesn’t have to be in a negative context for you to be liable.

Getting The Release Signed

Now it’s fairly simple to get a media release signed. And it’s easier to do it before taking photos or filming video than trying to collect signatures after the fact.

But the key is to get the right signatures for every person whose likeness you plan to use.

For example, there was an Internet marketing guru who held a seminar where he decided to sell videos of the event afterwards. Although the guru had attendee releases signed, there was a child who attended the event…and neither a parent nor legal guardian signed a media release on the kid’s behalf.

So, the guru had a choice of either paying the kid’s parents for the right to use his likeness or spend more money to have the child digitally edited out of video before selling it.

What About Stock Photography And Video?

If you’re going to use stock photos and videos, the licensing terms will govern what you can and can’t do with them in your business. Stock licensing doesn’t necessarily mean you can portray the person in the video or photo in a negative false light. And if you plan to exceed the scope of the license, you’ll want to get an additional release signed (and likely pay for it).

Where To Get A Media Release For Your Business

An experienced business contracts lawyer can prepare a media release form that’s right for your company. The terms will vary depending upon your type of business, what type of media you’re using, and whether or not you’ll be paying compensation in exchange for the release.

Child Privacy Online: Should Children Use Your Website?

By | Internet Lawyer, Website Lawyer, Website Legal Documents | No Comments

child privacy onlineWith new privacy laws and regulations, it’s time to review your website’s legal documents to make sure you’re protecting yourself from lawsuits and government investigations. Child privacy online is one of those issues you need to address.

By now, you may have heard about the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)…and maybe know a little about the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018. But they focus on consumers in general, not minors.

Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act

For now, in the United States, the primary law you should know about it is the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) and related children’s privacy rule enforced by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

COPPA is designed to specifically protect minors under the age of 13 years. If your website is directly or indirectly targeting children this young, you should jump through all of the COPPA hoops to shield your business.

Website Privacy For Minors Over 12 Years Old

And if your website targets minors 13 to 17 years of age, you’ll still want to put in place privacy protections for these children that aren’t necessary for adult visitors.

For example, you may want to make it clear these teenagers can only use your site under the supervision of a parent or legal guardian. Or simply ban all minors under 18 from using your site.

What If Your Site Isn’t Intended For Children?

If your website doesn’t target minors, perhaps the easiest way to protect child privacy online is to make it clear in your site’s privacy policy and elsewhere that those under the age of 18 years shouldn’t use your site at all. And put safeguards into place to ensure you’re not collecting data from minors.

A good website lawyer can prepare a custom online privacy policy and other website legal documents designed to minimize your risks related to minors using your site. Of course, you’ve also got to follow your policy. It doesn’t help to say one thing about child privacy online in your website’s privacy statement and then do something else when it comes to collecting, protecting, and sharing minors’ data.

Do you need help with your site’s legal documents? You’ll want to set up a phone consultation with Attorney Young today.

Website Data Privacy Statement: What Is It And Do You Need One?

By | Internet Lawyer, Website Lawyer, Website Legal Documents | No Comments

Website Data Privacy Statement Policy

What Is A Website Data Privacy Statement?

A website data privacy statement is just another way of describing your website privacy policy. Although it’s more common to find this term used on European sites, you’ll occasionally find it on U.S. and Canadian business websites, particularly for North American subsidiaries of European ventures.

Related Article: Privacy Policy 101 – What Every Website Owner Should Know

Do You Need A Data Privacy Statement On Your Site?


Whether you refer to this legal document as a privacy policy or a privacy statement, you should have it on your website to comply with applicable law. And to encourage your website visitors to trust you will do the right thing when it comes to their data you collect, store and use.

What To Include In Your Site’s Privacy Policy

Of course, what you’ll include in your site’s privacy statement will vary depending upon the type of business you have and the information you collect and use. For example, a medical doctor’s website that operates a patient portal will have Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) and Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act) issues to address.

And if you collect data from European or California visitors (e.g. email addresses), you’ll want to consider whether the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) or the California Consumer Privacy Protection Act of 2018 should be addressed in your company’s website privacy statement.

Do You Need Help With Your Website’s Privacy Legal Protection?

Naturally, an experienced website lawyer can prepare a bespoke privacy statement for your site that’s designed to build visitor trust while reducing your legal liability exposure. If you need a new website privacy policy or want an existing policy revised, let’s talk. And be sure to check out our flat fee Website Legal Protection Package for businesses.

Have You Read This Bestseller Email Marketing Rules Book?

By | Internet Lawyer | No Comments

email marketing rules bookDuring the past weekend, Internet Business Lawyer Mike Young’s email marketing rules book became an Amazon bestseller, taking the #1 slot in the Direct Marketing category for the Kindle edition of “Email Marketing – How To Protect Your Business When You Sell By Email.”

Part of the Quick Legal GuidesTM series, Mike’s book also hit #1 at Amazon in the 90-Minute Business & Money Short Reads category.

So, if you’re selling products or services via email, you’ll want to invest in a copy of this how-to guide. You can get the book in paperback for $5.99 or the Kindle electronic version for $4.99. And if you’re a Kindle Unlimited subscriber, you can read the ebook version for free.

In the guide, email marketing rules will be demystified. You’ll discover…

  • What is spam email (the answer may surprise you)
  • 5 important spam and privacy laws every marketer should know about when sending emails to recipients in the United States, Canada, and the European Union
  • 7 email marketing tactics to reduce the risk you’ll get sued or arrested
  • How to promote a product or service by email as an affiliate without putting a legal target on your back (includes sample language you can use)
  • Why making the wrong claims in your emails can destroy your business — and how to make claims the right way to prevent trouble
    9 deceptive email marketing practices you should avoid…unless you like spending time in court or dealing with government investigators
  • How to protect your emails with copyrights plus a legal way to borrow content from others and use it in your emails
  • 3 essential parts an email signature designed to limit your personal liability

But don’t just take our word for it. Email marketing experts Ben Settle and Big Jason Henderson have both read and recommended the book.

So what are you waiting for? Get your copy of this email marketing rules book today.

Click this link for the Kindle version OR click here to get the paperback edition.