Contracts: Essential Legal Steps for Online Distribution

Steps through a maze

This post is part of a series of posts entitled A Legal Guide to the Internet. For a comprehensive list of articles contained in this series, click here.

The following are essential steps in implementing any online distribution process:

  • The user should receive some notification prior to buying or downloading the software that it is subject to a license agreement.
  • The user should be required to review the license terms prior to any buy or download option.
  • The user should be given the option to abandon the download or buy sequence at any point during the transaction.
  • The license agreement itself should be short, simple and easily understood.
  • The license terms should be prepared for the particular software application and particular use contemplated.
  • It is also important to register the end users and obtain basic information including name and address for billing and future support (if any). Such registration must be completed prior to any buy or download of the software.
  • Finally, the merchant should make sure that it utilizes the appropriate copyright and trademark notices in any on-screen displays.
This and the following posts have been copied or adopted from A Legal Guide To The INTERNET – Sixth Edition, published through a collaborative effort by the Minnesota Department of Employment & Economic Development and Merchant & Gould.