The state of Illinois is now in the process of considering a new law that would require anyone considering Chicago web design to provide documentary proof that the website will be approved and licensed by the city. These websites will also need to abide by laws pertaining to use of names of individuals, products, or services. The City of Chicago web design ordinance will also apply to political advocacy groups.
Businesses in Illinois will still be allowed to get a Chicago web design if they make an honest effort to comply with state requirements. But the City of Chicago will be the final arbiter of how much protection the online business gets. And what’s more, businesses will not be able to claim they are not subject to any rules because there is no such thing as a “default rule” in Illinois.
One way of establishing that the site is indeed legitimate and worthy of approval is to submit two written and sworn statements from legal counsel to the city regarding their website. If the attorney determines the web design is not likely to be a violation of the law, the attorney should sign the affidavit. In this way, the city will know that the site will not be considered inappropriate under state law. Once the website is formally authorized, the business will need to hire an attorney to write up the online business contract.
Another point in favor of the state’s law is that it will prevent businesses from trying to skirt the rules to avoid compliance. Having a lawyer to write up a contract will mean that the website is always in compliance with the rules. The lawyer will represent the business in all legal issues associated with the business.
So, why is this state’s law being considered in the first place? Of course, the city sees this as a way to prevent the undue influence of political and corporate interests on the way that citizens live their lives. This might appear to be an obvious point, but those who support the law say that Chicago is already quite liberal.
What makes these regulations so controversial is that it creates an unreasonable expectation among those who will use the website. By requiring that the website for the city of Chicago to pass all the same standards as every other website that is approved by the city, the law would seem to be imposing additional, unnecessary hurdles. It would also be restricting the freedom of speech that every citizen has by requiring that a website include only information that conforms to the city’s view of what is appropriate for residents to see. This is not what freedom of speech means.
The final point to consider is that while the website will be subject to Illinois’ law, there are many online business entities located in other states that could still continue to operate without the need for a license in Chicago. There is not one law that says all sites must be approved by the City of Chicago. There are many sites that meet all the necessary criteria and are not subjected to any laws in Illinois. Should a business in another state to be able to do business as a Chicago web design website?
The answer is, no. A Chicago web design will not be required by the state, but anyone doing business in another state will still need to be licensed to provide the service.