Software developers offering internet applications for free, sale or licensed use should consult with counsel to protect their privacy, security, intellectual property, tax, and commercial transactions.
Quality of service, profitability, and the outcome of all legal issues flow from a developer's commercial arrangements and terms of contract. Service level and performance, best practices, liability, risk management and allocation, vendor lock-in, and the strength of both parties' obligations hinge on the contract.
Given the endless variety of software applications delivered to customers of all shapes and sizes, contract negotiations are especially critical in tailoring services to a customer's needs. App developers and software developers need the advice of counsel to develop custom contracts that help manage risk, enable business development, and proactively set your team up for success.
With data transferred and processed across jurisdictional boundaries and services located in one state but accessed in another, determining the governing law and jurisdiction for a cloud-hosted application or service is absolutely necessary.
Compliance with laws governing the privacy of customer data is a serious responsibility for any software provider. Data privacy is addressed in multiple federal, state, and international laws including the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA), the Child Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), the FCC's CPNI rules, HIPAA, the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act, the EU Directive on Data Protection (Directive 95/46/EC) and FTC consumer protection rules.
Knowing how best to comply with laws imposing data security requirements and standards is essential. With the increase of malicious actors attempting to access valuable information, service providers and business customers must provide for the physical, operational, and programmatic security of their data.
The location where data is stored can determine what law will govern and control the maintenance of a particular customer's data. Extraterritorial or dispersed geographical storage can impact the ability of customers to establish an audit trail for purposes of satisfying regulatory compliance and legal obligations, which rely on verifying where data is located, accessed, or altered.
Software development touches on a number of intellectual property issues, and the protection of trade secrets, confidential information, copyright, and trademarks in the cloud has to be maintained. When software is involved in any transaction, the licensing, use, and ownership of both software as a service (SaaS) and data stored on the cloud becomes critical.
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