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Legal/Tax help needed: making money on a web site

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Legal/Tax help needed: making money on a web site

Old 04-28-05, 08:45 AM
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Legal/Tax help needed: making money on a web site

I'm planning a comic-related web site that should launch in the next few weeks. Before I do, I'd like some legal advice.

First off, do I need to get the site copyrighted to ensure that no one steals my content, or is a legal disclaimer enough? If I need a copyright, how much does that cost and how is it done? Can I just use the word copyright without actually having it logged with the government?

Also, if I can actually sell some ad space, and thus get money, what do I need to do to make this a business so I can write off some of the money I spend. For example, I'd like to be able to write off the costs of high-speed internet and possibly the cost of start up. Do I need to be an LLC? Do I need to be an official business?

Any help would be appreciated....
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Old 04-28-05, 08:55 AM
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I think the USPTO does copyrights

www.uspto.gov

maybe another office. try searching on www.firstgov.gov

a disclaimer is not enough, you need to register with the government to enjoy legal protection
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Old 04-28-05, 09:10 AM
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Thanks for the links. Looks like your work is copyrighted just by publishing it, but as you said, to get legal backing, you need to register.

So, that's one down. What about the tax questions?
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Old 04-28-05, 09:19 AM
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http://www.copyright.gov/

It is generally unneccessary to register a copyright, unless you think there is a high probability your work will be stolen and/or it's worth a lot of money. There are some benefits to registering (including statutory damages for infringement rather than actual damages), but it probably won't make a difference in your case. I'd save the money.
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Old 05-02-05, 11:11 AM
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Anyone out there know what I need to do in order to be okay as far as tax laws go if I get advertisements for my site? Do I need to be a legal company? If so, what do I need to do?
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Old 05-02-05, 03:59 PM
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James: Places will take your money no matter who you are. You can easily be a sole proprietorship, it would not really take a lof of work on your part. When I set up my LLC it was through an accountant and specialist who handled that stuff. ALL your expenses, even ones incurred while you're thinking about setting up a company (research) is tax-deductible.

As far as "writing off" your expenses, it doesn't really matter* with most LLCs since they are pass-through tax entities. They are not taxed, but your income with them is.

Copyright is not necessary --- publishing your work will be "prior art" if anyone ever copies it.

If I was in your position, I would do everything without setting up an LLC, and do it for a period of time (30 days, 90 days). Then, decide if the extra hassle is worth it to you. Or, if its insanely succesful (let's hope so!) then you will need to do it anyways.

Remember, sole proprietorships are the most audited type of business!

* WARNING: NOT A TAX ADVISOR!
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