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How To Protect Your Membership Website

By Internet Lawyer, Website Lawyer, Website Legal Documents
website membership agreement

When you own a membership website, a written membership site contract is essential to protecting what you own. And reducing the chance you’ll get sued by an unhappy member.

This is true whether membership is free, paid for up front, or on a subscription basis.

One of the biggest risks is a member mistakenly believing that access to member content gives the member unlimited rights to download and redistribute the content to friends or the public in general. And if you haven’t address this issue, it can create a legal nightmare.

In short, you’ll want your website membership agreement’s licensing provisions to make it clear what can and can’t be down with your content (e.g. videos, audios, text, etc.).

And there’s the problem that arises from members who don’t know what their rights and responsibilities after membership terminates (by you or the member). For example, will the terminated member get a partial refund? If so, how is that calculated?

How do you integrate a membership site agreement into the process? Typically, it’s handled as part of signup/checkout.

Like other website legal documents (e.g., privacy policy), an experienced website lawyer can help you get the right language in place to protect your online membership business.

If you need help with your membership agreement, set up a phone consultation with Internet Business Lawyer Mike Young today.

Membership Website: How To Create One The Right Way

By Internet Lawyer, Website Lawyer, Website Legal Documents

create a membership website

In other recent articles, I’ve given you four effective methods for building your business online. Today, I’d like to cover how to use a membership website to market your products and services to new and repeat customers.

How do you get started with a membership website?

Take some of your best content and password-protect it in a membership area. aMember and WishList Member are two popular software options entrepreneurs use for setting up and maintaining a membership site.

Related Article: 5 Business Website Disclosures And Disclaimers

Paid or Free Content?

That’s business judgment call. Many do not value anything that’s free. On the other hand, you’ll probably have a larger membership base if there’s no cost to sign up. Some entrepreneurs create a hybrid system where it’s no cost to join but limited to customers who have bought something from you.

Whether you charge a minimal amount or offer membership for free, having members creates a following that’s more loyal to you than your typical website visitor. Done correctly, your members will become an interconnected fan base of you, your products, and services.

Make the experience worthwhile for your members.


Consider using one or more of the following tactics:

  • beta test products and services with your members, offer special deals or samples (Strategy #1);
  • screen from your membership to determine prospective business owners with whom to do cross-promotions (Strategy #2);
  • licensing deals (Strategy #3); and/or
  • offer affiliate status (Strategy #4).

Intellectual Property Theft

However, beware of content thieves.

Related Article: How Safe Is Your Business Website From Lawsuits?

Because you’ll have valuable content in the membership section of your site, there will be a temptation for some punk to steal your membership materials and use it elsewhere to compete against you.

Legal Protection For Your Membership Site

This means you’ll want to register copyrights for the membership content you own, have a good membership agreement, and use up-to-date other website legal documents (e.g. privacy policy, terms of use, etc.). Your Internet lawyer can prepare a customized membership contract that protects what you own while explaining rules for using the membership area.


How to Protect Your Membership Website

By Intellectual Property, Internet Lawyer

membership website agreementWhen you run a membership website, you have put a lot of time, money, and energy into building a dynamic site that requires valuable content to succeed.

Successful paid membership sites frequently include unique videos, audios, eBooks, PDF special reports, member forums, and other intellectual property that you want to protect if you own the website.

Unfortunately, there are people who will sign up for a membership site, scrape its content, cancel their membership…and may even ask for a refund. You put in the effort but they “borrowed” your content to sell or give away to others.

Because so much on the Internet is free, most people who misuse content from paid membership websites don’t realize they’re actually stealing intellectual property.

So how do your protect your intellectual property on a membership site?

1. Have your Internet attorney register your copyrights and trademarks for the site so that you have some powerful legal tools at your disposal in case someone pirates your membership website content.

2. Your Internet business lawyer can draft a membership website agreement that new clients read and agree to as part signing up to become members. This agreement tells new members what they can do and not do with content from the members’ area of your site.