Updated 8 September 2012: We really would like your feedback on this: so please vote, edit, comment, and answer this proposal.
Building on discussion from Do we need a new close reason for legal questions? and Legal Questions Revisited, I would like to discuss the possibility of creating a new Community Wiki Q&A to help inform webmasters of their due diligence (asking on an SE site
!= due diligence) for legal concerns.
Rather than closing or otherwise modifying questions, a link to this Q&A would be added as a post notice to let the asker decide whether to leave the question up for the community or take responsibility for finding qualified legal counsel. (and this way we would have a general answer that everyone can contribute to rather waiting for an answerer to mention "I Am Not A Lawyer" + "... nor is anyone else here")
Question: How do I ensure my website is operating within the law?
Proposed Answer: (draft - please feel free to edit/expand)
As stated in our FAQ, you are encouraged to ask practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face - in the case of legal advice and the interpretation of any laws or contracts which apply to your website or operations, any answers you receive here (or on any publicly-accessible site) should not be considered a substitute for qualified legal counsel.
We are webmasters, not lawyers: although answerers may have personal experience and advice concerning an issue you that you face, in some jurisdictions you may have a legal responsibility to perform due diligence by researching the legality of your website or practices - contact a lawyer for legal advice to ensure that you get the best information. Moreover, although the advice you receive may be legitimate, there is a possibility that the advice may not be applicable to your jurisdiction (i.e. The laws of your country of residence are different then the laws discussed in the question).
New draft (by christofian):
This webpage discusses legal issues. Please remember that:
- Any advice posted here or on another website
should not be considered a substitute for consulting a laywer. Treat it like something an acquaintance told you, and consider consulting a lawyer, a government official, or someone similar if you are actually experiencing this problem.
- People are encouraged to state which country their advice applies to, as laws and legal procedures vary from country to country.
The advice given here may not apply to your location.
- Depending on your location,
you may have a legal responsibility to contact a lawyer. See the wikipedia page on due diligence for more info.