Is my online business idea legal? Seems like a simple question, right? And in some ways, it is. A bit of free advice – starting a site where customers can hookup with hitmen is probably not going to be the wisest choice. However, the law is rarely that black and white. When considering whether your business idea is legal, one often needs to look at laws that might not come to mind at first.
You also need to consider the changing legal standards applicable to the Internet. The days of the web being the Wild Wild West are long gone. We are now in an era I refer to as The Empire Strikes back with apologies to George Lucas. New laws are being passed to clamp down on everything from privacy to fake news topics. While such efforts may sound positive at first mention, who decides what is and is not fake news? Nobody is sure at this time.
Determining whether your business idea is legal should be part of your startup checklist. You don’t want to end up spending time in the grey motel because it turns out that cookie you developed is considered a form of hacking that can get you up to 20 years in jail in the federal legal system.
Richard A. Chapo, Esq.