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How Do I Make My Website Legal?


Every website owner needs to make sure that their website is legal, so here is a list of things you’ll need to make sure your website ticks all the boxes.

So what does a website need to make it legal?

  • Contact Information. Businesses need to be contactable, so it makes sense to have your contact details on your website. It should include your phone number, email address, fax number and a postal or physical address as well. 
  • Explanation of the Governing Law and Restrictions. You also need to be clear with users of your website, which laws apply to the use of it (either the laws of their country or yours). Usually the laws of New Zealand will apply. You will also need to outline any legal restrictions that apply – such as needing to be 18 years old to purchase alcohol for instance.
  •  A Complaints Policy. Though no business likes to receive complaints, stating clearly how customers can make a complaint, and who to address complaints to is a necessary part of operating a website. Providing contact information also gives customers the means to provide feedback so that you can improve your website and any related product.
  •  A Privacy Policy. Every business website in New Zealand needs to have a privacy policy about how they collect information from visitors of their site, how it is stored and what they do with it. In order to comply with New Zealand privacy laws, you have to be responsible with respect to data collection, and explain what information will be collected and how. You’ll need to give details of how people can contact you to view what data you have stored about them as well as giving them the opportunity to request that any data you hold about them be deleted. Part of being a responsible user of information involves avoiding ‘spamming’ users of the site. The Unsolicited Electronic Messages Act 2007 makes spam illegal in New Zealand.  All New Zealand businesses are required ensure that any electronic messages they send are not considered spam. Failure to comply could mean a fine of up to $500,000. Have a read of our article on writing a privacy policy for a website here.
  • Terms and Conditions. Having clearly written terms and conditions on your website is a clear way to outline expectations. It sets out what the website will provide and outlines the expected behaviour of visitors to your website.  For help on writing your terms and conditions and what needs to be in them, check out our article here. If you are selling goods, you should also include information on your return, exchange and refund policies consistent with the Consumer Guarantees Act, and let the customer know what currency their purchases are in. You also have the obligation to tell users of your website how you keep their payments secure.
  • An Explanation of Costs. This only really applies if you are selling something on your website, but in addition to your terms and conditions, you should outline any extra costs on top of the price of the goods you are selling – examples of these costs are delivery and postage.
  • Copyright. All the written content you create or have someone create for you automatically receives copyright in New Zealand. Anything and everything published by you becomes your ‘intellectual property’. That means that if somebody wants to use it, they need your permission. It’s therefore important that you have a copyright statement on your website stating what people can and can’t do with your website content. You can decide what may be used by others. For instance, you may allow the information to be used as long as they reference you, or you may decide that anyone wanting to use content from your website needs to ask your permission first.
  • Legally Obtained Images. Everything you can see on the internet is in the public domain, but that does not mean you can use it on your website without seeking permission from the person who owns the image.  This means that you must own the images you use on your website or have a right to use them. Although google images are already ‘public’, the owner of that image could claim copyright infringement if you use them without permission. Images that you don’t own that you can purchase or use for free are referred to as ‘stock’ images. There are several marketplaces for stock images on the internet.

Get a Privacy Policy and Terms and Conditions for your website now

Disclaimer: The information on this page is general information only and must not be relied on as legal advice. Legal Beagle is not a law firm or a substitute for a law firm. We are unable to provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defences, options, selection of legal documents or strategies. 




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Legal Beagle is not a law firm or a substitute for a law firm. We are unable to provide any kind of advice, explanation, opinion, or recommendation about possible legal rights, remedies, defences, options, selection of legal documents or strategies.
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