Using US-based services as a European Business

USA - EU Jigsaw pieces - ©iStockphoto.com/PaltoI guess I don’t need to tell most of you that the internet is a global phenomenon.  Anyone who has used a web browser will more likely than not have visited a website that is hosted in a different country, possibly without even realising it.

And for most people using the web, that’s probably just fine.

But for businesses it is a different matter and there is a lot more to take into consideration when deciding where to host a website or which services to use.

There is a financial aspect to consider if you host your site in a country that uses a different currency.  In a worst case scenario, your hosting could because much more expensive just due to a bad exchange rate. [Read More…]

It’s cookie time again – are you ready?

Cookies shaped like Euro coins - ©iStockphoto.com/mix7777Do you remember how a year ago we were discussing the new EU cookie law (also known as directive 2009/136/EC)?  And how having realised that although the direction was now integrated into UK law, it was pretty impractical to implement?

Well then you may also remember that the Information Commissioner’s Office gave businesses a year to get their sites in order, before they started issuing fines.

That year runs out this month!

Just to re-cap: you need permission from your visitors to store a cookie on their computer unless it is absolutely necessary for the site to work.  So you might need to store a cookie to operate a shopping basket when someone buys something, but you don’t have to store a cookie to remember the name of your visitor just to make things more convenient for them.  You must ask first.

And tracking cookies are a big problem!

Yet although businesses in the UK have had all that time to sort out the problem, I sometimes get the impression that very little has been done and it is going to be a mad dash to get everything fixed on time.  Maybe I’m wrong and everyone has a solution that they are going to activate on 26th May? [Read More…]

The performing rights problem (or: YouTube v GEMA)

A street musician - ©iStockphoto.com/dmitrievadmitrievaA court case in Germany made the international headlines last week.  Billed in some cases as “YouTube v GEMA” it dealt with the issue of whether Google has to pay royalties for the music that people upload to the YouTube service.

Since GEMA is not that well known outside of Germany, it’s probably fair to compare them with the PRS in the UK or ASCAP in the USA.  Their job is to collect royalties from anyone using the music written or composed by their members.

This is a very important point: they represent the songwriters and composers, not necessarily the artists.

Just for a moment, think about what it means if you just use a piece of music on your YouTube video, without getting permission to first.  You are probably infringing on the copyright of the record label or the performer on one level, but on another you are using words and music written by someone as well. [Read More…]

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