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Top 10 legal issues for clients of Web developers

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1. Define steps the provider will take after the relationship terminates to help you switch your Web site to a new provider.

2. Describe how the provider will integrate your Web site with your existing hardware, software and other systems.

3. Define milestones that apply to the Web site development and design process, and what acceptance tests will be used to approve the results.

4. Specify what rights you have in the materials, including the software and Web site design, developed by the provider.

5. Require your provider to guarantee that the site is compatible with specified browsers and plug-ins, that the site is free from viruses, and that any software developed is year 2000 compliant.

6. Find out how the provider will ensure, over time, that your users have speedy connections to your site, and how costs for additional infrastructure will be charged.

7. Determine what security mechanisms your provider will be using to protect your Web site and any related databases, and make sure they're adequate.

8. Specify what the provider will do in the event of service interruptions.

9. Find out how often the provider will deliver usage reports, how much analysis of server logs will be done, and if there are extra costs for these services.

10. Determine whether you'll be able to upload new content directly to the Web site, or if you will need your provider's help to do so. Specify whether this will be a compensable event, and how long it will take to have new content appear on the site.

Source: Eric Schlachter, cyberspace lawyer, Cooley Godward, Palo Alto, Calif.

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