Online commercial ventures

Online commercial ventures have similar business concerns as offline ones, e.g. licenses, IP protection, employment laws. However, due to the nature of business they may have additional considerations, which offline businesses may or may not have.


First of all, what is an online commercial venture? It is business collaboration for profit, which is happening entirely online. For example, several parties may work on developing software or a platform without the need of physical presence. Later they either give cross-licenses to each other for use of the created product or utilize it together as business partners. 


In the beginning of the process the parties focus on the creation and development of collaboration. Also, the fact that the parties may not deal with each other in real life, but connect only virtually, for some reason makes people feel like it is not the same partnership as when they actually meet face to face with their partners. For these and other reasons, legal requirements that come with running a business are not always prioritized in the online venture. However, a failure to address legal matters early in the process could result in significant liability for all parties involved.  


What concerns are typical for online commercial ventures and therefore should be addressed by the collaborators:


Partnership or collaborators agreement


IP Licenses


·         Will parties give cross-licenses to each other to act independently or will they use the product/service strictly in common business?

·         Do they want to impose restrictions on assignment to the third parties?

·         What happens in case of change of control of one party?


Data as IP and Data License Agreements


Often collaborators exchange or use data, which belonged to one of them before the collaboration was formed. They should not forget to take permission from the other party and otherwise negotiate their future use of it.


Software and Information Technology (IT) – the following should not be overlooked:


     Legal Protection of Software

     Open-Source Software

     Children's Online Privacy: COPPA Compliance

     Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA)

     US Privacy and Data Security Law

     Cyber security



Standard Documents that are usually prepared for online ventures besides documents that are applicable to any business partnership:


·         Website hosting agreement

·         Website/software/app development agreement

·         Terms of Use

·         Privacy Policy

·         Various license agreements

·         Software as a Service (SaaS) agreement

·         Software support service agreement

·         Software evaluation license agreement

·         Date security contract

·         Ownership of social media accounts agreement

·         Privacy audit questionnaires

·         Online advertising and marketing agreement

·         Mobile app or software end user agreement (EULA)

·         Mobile app or software privacy disclosure

·         Other documents depending on the nature of collaboration.

More in this category: « End-user agreements Privacy Policy »

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