Hello again Joseph,
My name isXXXXX a licensed attorney and am very happy to try and answer your question today. Thanks for taking the time to write back and supply the additional details, which has been helpful to my analysis of your inquiry. I would like to also take this opportunity to wish you the very best in your business pursuits. Your idea sounds both interesting and worthwhile, so I hope your venture proves to be both profitable and personally gratifying to you!
Here is how this works. I will try and not ramble on too incessantly, but you know how verbose lawyers can be, so here goes. Let me start with some general remarks and then move on to more specific comments.
First of all, I like the fact that you formed a Delaware business entity. As I am sure you are already aware, Delaware offers exceptionally favorable treatment toward corporations. The whole package -- Court structure, corporate statutes, State agency -- are behind the fact that over half of all United States publicly traded companies are Delaware corporations. Secondly, that you are not planning to monies in trust or escrow is hugely helpful to you. That eliminates just a whole host of issues and concerns that we do not even have to worry about, fortunately.
Alright, having said all of that, let us move on to consider the specifics of your scenario. Yes, you do need to include disclaimer language. So, it is not a matter of saying do not worry about it. And, in my opinion, you need to consider three levels or types of disclaimers, namely: (1) a brief statement to appear on each web page or hard copy page; (2) along with a more comprehensive and lengthy "click through" disclaimer; and (3) a general web site use disclaimer with terms. That all probably sounds complicated, but that need not be the case. I have many years of experience working on business law matters in the online environment, so here is what I envision for your needs. I will consider each of these three components separately and in the order presented above to try and stay organized.
(1) The "short disclaimer" would appear on each item (i.e. at the bottom of each web page and/or hard copy page of material). Here is a workable example, and yours could even be briefer: Short Disclaimer. Your language would be tweaked a bit to indicate that you are providing educational matter and a platform for you and those interested in investing to interact, not an actual investment firm. It may seem redundant, but I like to see this sort of thing on every page of items. Considering worst case scenario (which I do not see as any sort of likely scenario given your model) of a case going to Court. It would be very helpful for you to be able to show a brief disclaimer on each and every item, not just a one time deal.
(2) The "long disclaimer" is the typical "small print" acknowledged only once by a consumer. I would like to see a user of your web site have to click a little "I agree" sort of box when first signing up. When ordering hard copy materials to be delivered, this language could be included on the order page. This will be two or three paragraphs incorporating a bunch of points: disclaiming liability; warning customers that markets fluctuate and they are assuming all risk; explaining that (unlike banks) no federal agency or any other sort of insurer or guarantor will be backing their investments; emphasizing past performance is not an indicator of future returns; and stressing you are not licensed or regulated by any federal or state agency, including the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Here is one from a name I will bet you recognize: Long Disclaimer
Throughout this analysis, I have approached this issue from the perspective of best protecting your interests in the event of a worst case scenario, namely having a lawsuit filed against you. Now, I did so out of an abundance of caution, but here is some good news. Realistically, if you are clear about the nature of your business and stick with it, you will be just fine. I can tell that you are savvy and have no desire to exceed proper boundaries. I see zero red flags or cause for alarm or concern based upon your description. I think you are good to go!
If you have a follow-up question or need clarification, please just say the word by using "reply" to reach me. I will be sure to check back for any further word from you when I am again working online in this forum.
I truly hope all works out for you and that the information I have provided proves useful. Thanks so much for using this service!