Legal Liability in Affiliate Marketing?

by d-affiliate 6 replies
Hi, I'm trying to get started on Clickbank under my dad's name, and he's concerned about legal liability in the case of misguidance/harm to a person following the instructions of a product, and in turn, a lawsuit of some kind.

In the case of a lawsuit, could the affiliate ever be held liable for promoting the product?

I feel as if the products on Clickbank contain disclaimers/have taken proper legal precautions as they'd be the ones concerned about lawsuits, etc. I think it's just a good idea to you know, know any legal risks involved. If anyone could answer/point me in the right direction that would be great.

Thanks
d-affiliate
#main internet marketing discussion forum #affiliate #legal #liability #marketing
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  • Profile picture of the author BIG Mike
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    • Profile picture of the author KarlWarren
      Take Mike's advice...

      all you're likely to get is "opinions" - even though there are Warriors who are lawyers, they will still only offer you an opinion, with a disclaimer (without having ALL the info)

      Kindest regards,
      Karl.
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    • Profile picture of the author d-affiliate
      Thank you for everyone's replies, yes, the general reply is quite a valid piece of advice, don't rely on non-lawyers for legal advice. I have started to inquire about the appropriate legislation/guidelines in both my country and the US.

      Originally Posted by derekwong28 View Post

      I have received a C&D letter and claim for compensation from a law firm before for promoting a T-shirt whose design had infringed another company's copyright. I just told them I was an affiliate rather than a merchant and they agreed to leave the matter.

      I also heard of affiliates who promoted online pharmacies having received letters from lawyers threatening to file a mass action lawsuit against them unless they pay the lawyer off.

      Over the years, I have received other C&Ds, lawyer's threats, and even sued once in the US court but it all came to nothing. There will always be some legal risk when you are conducting business of any sort. But I would say that you have a big advantage living in Australia because it would present a rather high hurdle for US firms to get you there.

      -Derek
      Thanks for the reply Derek, that is very true, no matter what business you conduct or where you go, there is always the possibility of being legally liable, and I guess IM is no exception.

      I guess I must ask to the appropriate people what trouble the affiliate can get in if there is something wrong with the product. I think I anyone not living in the US should take the same precautions as anyone in the US would regardless, as there are a lot of people with a lot of money who are probably quite happy to take people to court.

      Thanks to everyone who replied, it's put me in the right direction of what sort of questions I should ask.

      d-affiliate
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  • Profile picture of the author LB
    As the above posters said...talk to a lawyer. However, yes, affiliates certainly play a part and could share liability. Many view it as a magical happy land where they can do what they please without repercussions- not so.

    A few years back I received a court order regarding an affiliate program I had signed up for (never sold any though...thankfully) and according to the documents it looked like they were going to be investigating some of the top affiliates of this product as well as the publishers.

    If you make a recommendation and are compensated for it (i.e. "review sites") there are also other considerations that come into play and FTC guidelines as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author seasoned
    The fact is that vendors do NOT want affiliates to be considered to be employees. It just creates TOO MANY problems! That means you AREN'T an employee, which means you are culpable if you mistate facts, or divert people to the system for money.

    If you want to avoid problems, avoid health, legal, and investment products, as well as any scams or anything not totally legit.

    On the bright side, if you act in "GOOD FAITH", the worst that is likely to happen is that you will have to pay back the amount you get.

    IANAL but I DO believe all I said here to be true.

    Steve
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  • Profile picture of the author derekwong28
    I have received a C&D letter and claim for compensation from a law firm before for promoting a T-shirt whose design had infringed another company's copyright. I just told them I was an affiliate rather than a merchant and they agreed to leave the matter.

    I also heard of affiliates who promoted online pharmacies having received letters from lawyers threatening to file a mass action lawsuit against them unless they pay the lawyer off.

    Over the years, I have received other C&Ds, lawyer's threats, and even sued once in the US court but it all came to nothing. There will always be some legal risk when you are conducting business of any sort. But I would say that you have a big advantage living in Australia because it would present a rather high hurdle for US firms to get you there.

    -Derek
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    Do not get between a wombat and a chocolate biscuit; you will regret it dearly!

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  • Profile picture of the author Monetize
    If your dad's uncomfortable with Clickbank, have him
    select the products or sign up with CJ or the other
    affiliate networks. CB isn't the only game in town.
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