Website Agreements: What is Required?

When it comes to website agreements, what the law requires and what is considered best practice within your industry should be considered.  Website agreements typically include three agreements and serve different purposes:

1. Terms of Use (TOU), also known as a Terms of Service (TOS)

The Terms of Use contains legal provisions regarding representations and warranties, IP ownership and licensing, limitations on liability, indemnifications, choice of law/jurisdiction/venue/arbitration, and other important terms that apply to visitors and users of your website.

2. Privacy Policy

The Privacy Policy contains legal provisions that disclose how visitor and/or user information is collected, stored, used, shared and tracked.  Both State and Federal laws, not to mention international laws, should be considered here, depending upon the location from which the information is collected and/or used.  For example, the Safe Harbor Program, which once provided compliance certainty for United States companies doing business in the European Union (EU), is currently in a state of flux and may not be sufficient to provide the protections desired.

3. Copyright Policy

In the United States, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) provides immunity from claims of contributory copyright infringement to any internet service provider that designates a Copyright Agent and complies with the requirements, which include specific language on one’s website. 

Each of these website agreements is critically important and ultimately governs the relationship between you, the website owner, and your users (i.e. your customers).  An experienced technology attorney can advise you regarding the legal requirements, industry-specific considerations and best practices based upon how courts and administrative agencies have interpreted certain provisions and terms. 

Ultimately, website agreements are some of the most important contracts for your business.  You should not copy them from boilerplate forms or your competitors. 

Want more advise on website agreements? Reach out to us for a free consult.


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