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How To Utilize Appropriate Protective Provisions In Online Terms of Use

Websites are created all the time and for a variety of different reasons. Whether you’re an independent contractor, business owner, or own a website for almost any other reason, online Terms of Use are a critical legal component of your website. In particular, websites that involve any form of interaction with a client must have an easily viewable link to their Terms of Use.

What Are Terms Of Use?

You’re probably familiar with seeing Terms of Use agreements on websites, but do you know what they’re actually there for? Put simply, they form a legal document that notifies your customers and website visitors about the rules of using your website. Because Terms of Use are a sort of rulebook, they must be thorough and cover all critical aspects for visiting your website. Since they’re specific to your site, you need to be aware of what protective provisions should be included that work appropriately in your favor.

What Should A Terms Of Use Agreement Include?

Agreement To Be Bound

Your website’s Terms of Use agreement is actually a legally binding contract between your company and your website’s visitors. Because of this, it needs to be clear and succinct, and define that simply by using your website the user is agreeing to the Terms of Use. This provision is typically called an “agreement to be bound”. Many websites also choose to have a checkbox that asks users to agree that they will comply with the Terms of Use.

Term, Termination, and Survival

This provision should lay out for the user that the Terms of Use agreement begins as soon as the user visits the site and ends when they are no longer interacting with it. Here, you can also include any specific provisions that may last after the user has left your website. These provisions will be specific to your individual business.

Prohibited Uses

This is an extremely important provision and should explicitly list all activities that are forbidden. Each business should tailor its own prohibited uses, but some common inclusions are:

  • Using your website for illegal purposes

  • Unauthorized access of your company’s data or the data of other users

  • Falsely implying that another website is associated with your website

  • leasing, selling, copying, sub-licensing, transferring, or assigning any information, intellectual property, goods, or services provided on the site

  • Breaching the website’s security systems

  • Enabling third parties to violate your website’s terms of use

Refer To Your Site’s Privacy Policy

Your Terms of Use should also include a separate, clearly visible link to your online Privacy Policy. This Privacy Policy should specify all the necessary information needed for a user to understand how your company protects and uses their personal information.

Other Important Provisions To Utilize

Several other provisions should be included in your website’s Terms of Use. Typically, these include:

  • Subscriber data and legal compliance

  • Service interruptions and updates

  • Indemnification and limitation of liability

  • Notices and amendments

  • Confidentiality information

Remember, if someone misuses your website, your Terms of Use are enforceable by law. To find out more about how to utilize a Terms of Use contract on your own website, contact one of our professional attorneys at Emerald Law.


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