Arts Business Incubator Intensive Recap: Doing Business Online

Arts Business Incubator Intensive Recap: Doing Business Online

Get a legal perspective on doing business online from Elyse Dreyer, Compliance Counsel, Sotheby’s. 

NYFA welcomed its second cohort of arts-based businesses to its Arts Business Incubator program this January, starting with 10 days of intensive training on legal, financial, and marketing topics related to growing a business. We were lucky to sit in on one of the training sessions, titled “Doing Business Online,” with Elyse Dreyer, SVP, Compliance and Business Integrity Counsel, Sotheby’s Americas and Lena J. Wong, Associate, Schindler Cohen & Hochman. Lena J. Wong kicked off the presentation with a hypothetical scenario that raised issues to think about when selling online.

Read on for session takeaways from Elyse Dreyer’s presentation, which delved into further details about the rules of engagement for online selling. If you’re already doing business online or if you’re thinking of taking the next step in growing your business, this post is for you!

Privacy Policy

Doing business online entails collecting information that’s considered private. Think credit card numbers, phone numbers, mailing addresses, and more. Do you have a privacy policy that tells people what data you’re gathering and how you’re using it? A privacy policy should incorporate your business’ perspective as well as the perspective of any third parties you may be employing or apps you may be using.

  • Transparency is key. Be as transparent as possible to let people know what you’re doing with their data. First, find out what data is being collected, then figure out what you’re doing with it. Take a look at Sotheby’s Privacy Policy as an example. If you update your policy, let people know in order to maintain transparency.
  • Longer isn’t necessarily better. Some courts or regulators might find issue with a 50-page privacy document. These days, courts are leaning towards shorter, straightforward policies without all the legalese.
  • Have a cookie policy. A cookie is a piece of data that is generated by a website and saved by your browser. Cookies are created not just by the website the user is browsing, but also by other websites that run ads, widgets, or other elements on the page being loaded. Read Sotheby’s Cookie Policy for more information.

Email Marketing

If you do not already, you should have an opt-out notice on all of your email marketing materials. It is a legal obligation to honor request to unsubscribe. Additionally, if you’re sending emails through third-party email providers, make sure you’re honoring their policies too.

Terms of Use

Beware of using copyrighted material on your website. For example: copyright in an image might belong to you, and the copyright in the art might belong to the artist. Check in with the rights and copyright holder; Sotheby’s largely talks to the Artist’s Rights Society to confirm what they can do with their images. 

Consider Terms of Use as a means of protecting your intellectual property. Think about the use of your name and logo by external parties; Sotheby’s policy is to review any use for authorization. Click here to view Sotheby’s Terms of Use and to see additional examples of protecting your digital rights.

Online Sales and Payment

When selling online, disclose that extra costs may apply. For example, there may be added taxes, shipping costs, and custom duties. It is much more complicated to sell abroad, so research rules and regulations before deciding to open yourself up to that market. And finally, if you accept credit cards, make sure to know what the terms are with the processor and with the credit card company. Read all tedious agreements to save yourself trouble later on! 

Additional Resources

– Amy Aronoff, Communications Officer

ABI is made possible by the generous support of the Scherman Foundation’s Katherine S. and Axel G. Rosin Fund. For additional information on the ABI program, please contact [email protected].

Image from L to R: Elyse Dreyer and Lena Wong leading ABI’s “Doing Business Online” session, Photo Credit: Natasha Zeta.

Amy Aronoff
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