Today’s businesses must be aware of rules and rights dealing with information. Who owns information, who gets to collect and use it, how you can use information, how you can (or can’t) leverage it for a business purpose, etc.  This is not limited to information technology businesses, but applies to every business that collects information from people or distributes information to people.

When someone creates a work, they have certain rights regarding the reproduction, use, and distribution of that work.  Most of these rights fall into either copyright law or trademark law.  How you deal with these rights, especially for an IT business, is a critical part of your business model, and is usually done through licensing.

When you collect information from people, whether through purchasing mechanisms, membership forms, surveys, or any other mechanism through which a user or client submits data, whether electronic or not, there are sets of rules governing what you tell them during the process, what you can collect, how you can use what you’ve collected, how you obtain consent, and more.

When you disseminate information, particularly in mass mailings such as newsletters or marketing materials, you have to make sure you don’t run afoul of advertising and anti-spam laws.  This is not difficult for legitimate business activities and ethical marketing practices, but awareness of these rules will help keep you out of hot water.