Wow, how did that happen? It’s now only January, but almost the end of January 2024. Like what?! This month has flown by and has been a bit more “life” heavy than “business” heavy as our family has made the move to Italy. Lots of transitions, lots of jet lag and lots of pasta!
Today we’re diving into what I see as some legal trends for online businesses in 2024. Things are constantly changing so make sure you take note of the below and make sure your business is protected and you are on the right legal track for this year!
1. CONTRACTS ARE NO LONGER A “NICE TO HAVE”
The online world has definitely caught up with the “real world” in terms of understanding the significance of legal contracts. Coaches and other online business owners know that having legal protection from the beginning is no longer just a luxury or something they can wait on. Clients are as savvy as ever and if a business owner does not have a contract in place for services, that’s a huge red flag. I have more people coming to Destination Legal right at the beginning (not a year in) than ever before, they want to know they are building their business with the right foundation in place.
Same thing for Terms of Purchase. Gone are the days of just sending out a paypal link with no actual Terms. People want to see them and more people than ever are actually CLICKING the link to see what the Terms are (I know, crazy right?!).
2. AI ISN’T GOING ANYWHERE BUT CONTINUALLY EVOLVING
When ChatGPT first burst on the scene I think a lot of people were using it for tons of content creation - everything from blog posts to emails to social media posts. Over the last 6 months this has evolved to more of a “helper” versus straight up creation. Why? Because AI doesn’t create the most thoughtful or feeling content and that is what people want. So maybe you are using ChatGPT to help you outline your blog post instead of using it to totally write the entire thing.
Plus, there are still lots of copyright issues, currently the US Copyright Office is undertaking a study of the copyright law and policy issues raised by generative AI and is assessing whether legislative or regulatory steps are warranted - stay tuned!
3. BUSINESS OWNERS WANT TO PROTECT THEIR IP
The content created by online businesses, including courses, videos, and written content, holds significant value. Understanding and protecting intellectual property (IP) rights is really important in an era where content is easily shared/taken/borrowed.
Business owners want to understand when they should consider using copyright notices, get registered trademarks, and how to use contracts to safeguard their IP.
There were over 700,000 trademark applications filed in 2023 and that is a significant increase from just 5 years ago. I think a big part of this trend is because so many more people started their own companies (partly due to COVID and all the changes that ensued from that). Having a registered trademark allows a business to OWN their brand and in the era of personal brands and trying to distinguish oneself in a big market, this is going to be even more important than in past years.
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I think the message is clear here and that is, legal protection in all areas of your business is in fact a growing trend (yay, this makes me excited). Online business owners now more than ever see this as a non-negotiable to ensure they are building a business with a strong foundation from the beginning. If you want to make sure you are going down the right path, be sure to grab one of my free Legal Lightning calls where we can figure out exactly what you need legally and when.