However, to answer this question, it is first necessary to consider the risks that such a move carries and whether this seemingly “easier path” is actually more profitable?
You might ask what’s the problem with that?
There are several reasons why you should not go down this path, and it is actually more cost-effective in the long run to create original documents tailored just for you, rather than exposing yourself to numerous risks.
After explaining the meaning of these terms, the next step is to answer the question:
This further means that you are practically getting a copy of a copy, which certainly won’t suit your needs. In addition, the owners of the site or application often can’t notice all the oversights made by another company, so by copying someone else’s content, you’ll also copy all the mistakes and oversights contained in those documents.
Although this amount is quite high in itself, one should not lose sight of the fact that it can be much higher if the content of a multinational or foreign company is copied. In this way, you expose yourself to the risk of paying fines according to foreign regulations, as well as the costs of the opposing party’s lawyer and court fees.
Known for a large number of disputes due to copyright infringement, the United States has its own special regulations that determine fines in an amount that is even five times higher than the amounts prescribed by domestic laws! In these disputes, if the court assesses that the copyright infringement was committed intentionally, it can impose a fine of up to $150,000 per copied part.
If you violate someone else’s copyright, not only do you expose yourself to financial risk, but also to damage the reputation of the company that would gain a bad reputation with this, which is particularly problematic not only for companies that have been operating for many years and have a built reputation, but also for new companies and start-ups that are just trying to break into the market and build their name. High penalties that follow such violations are not something that any company, especially not a “young” company, needs.
For example, if your site provides e-commerce store services, you are obliged to inform consumers before concluding a contract for the sale of goods about the business name, registration number, headquarters address, and telephone number.
In addition, it is your duty to acquaint them with all the details of the contract being concluded, such as the conditions for returning goods and complaints, extrajudicial dispute resolution, and more.
Finally, bear in mind that certain regulations may apply to your business, regardless of where your company’s headquarters is located. The most common example of this extraterritorial application of regulations is personal data protection regulations.
For example, even if you have not registered your company in the territory of the EU, you may be subject to the obligations and strict penalty provisions provided by the GDPR, if:
- you offer goods or services to persons physically located in the EU (for example, your site is intended for selling clothes to customers from the EU), or
- you monitor the behavior of individuals located in the EU, provided that their behavior takes place within the Union (for example, you conduct marketing activities targeted at individuals located in the EU through cookies).
Laws and regulations are constantly changing, especially regulations in the field of privacy and data protection. This is a dynamic area that is still evolving, so it is possible that by copying the policies of another company you miss outdated rules that no longer apply and miss important changes in regulations that govern this area.
Service users and investors are not inclined to cooperate with a company that does not demonstrate originality and authenticity in its operations. A website or app is often the best “advertisement” for your company and a good way to attract new clients or users, as it provides a way for potential users to get acquainted with your company. For this reason, if your target group gets the impression that your company has just taken credit for someone else’s work, you create negative feedback in the market and diminish the possibility of expanding your business.
In addition, experience has shown that investors are reluctant to do business with companies that are in litigation over copyright infringement. In this way, a negative opinion about the company is formed, precisely because of the fear that there are other things that the company is doing contrary to the law.
One of the reasons is the obligations that companies take on themselves through these documents. Such obligations must be aligned with the actual state of your business, as well as the needs of both the company and users. As already indicated, there are significant differences depending on whether you have a presentation website or a more complex site through which you provide services or sell certain products. For these reasons, your responsibilities will not be the same, which in turn means that copying others’ terms and policies will cause you more harm than benefit.
In contrast to the previous risk where you take on more responsibilities and obligations than you want, there’s also the opposite risk, where you have not regulated everything necessary for the operation of your site.