Do I need terms of use for my website?

We answer some of your frequently asked questions

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Do I need terms of use for my website?

  1. What are terms of use?

These are the rules for using your website and everyone who visits/uses your website needs to agree to these terms in order to use your website.

They are not a legal requirement but every website should have its own professionally drafted set of terms to cover you in a range of areas including:

  • Limiting your liability to users
  • Making clear your ownership of any intellectual property (IP) rights
  • Ensuring you are compliant with any legal requirements related to the way you do business

Terms of use could also be referred to as terms of service or terms and conditions.

  1. What should my terms cover?

The terms create a legally binding contract between you and the user of the website and, at the very least, they should:

  • Set out the guidelines for using your website and what will happen if a user abuses your website
  • Notify the user that you are the owner of any intellectual property on the website (i.e. the content and any logos, imagery or logos and other brand images)
  • Limit your liability for any errors in the website’s content
  • Confirm the governing law for your terms

By including all of this – and any other relevant information – you are making the guidelines for using your website clear to the user and this should reduce the likelihood of potential legal issues in the future.

If you’re concerned your current terms may not be providing the protection you need, click here and we’ll be happy to take a look.

  1. Where should my terms of use be?

Ideally you’d have a link to your terms of use on every page on your website but if your website requires a user to register, the terms could be dealt with at registration.

As an absolute minimum a link to your ‘Terms of Use’ should be included on the home page.

  1. Can I protect my intellectual property rights on my website?

Yes, you should include a clause which sets out your ownership of the intellectual property on the website.

Typically, such a clause would tell visitors they may not use, reproduce or copy any of the intellectual property on the website without the website owner’s prior permission.  You could also include a ‘copyright notice’, effectively a time and date stamp alongside your name to show that you are the owner of the copyright for the website and its content.

  1. Do I need any other legal documents on my website?

It is a legal requirement for your website to have a privacy policy and a cookie policy.

A privacy policy should set out how you collect, use and store a user’s personal information and will make sure you are compliant with data protection laws.

Cookie law requires websites to get consent from users to store or retrieve any of their information on a computer.  Users need to be aware of how information about them is collected and used online and have the ability to choose whether or not that information is used at all.

  1. Where can I get some terms of use?

First things first, don’t simply copy another websites’ terms of use!  That is likely to be a copyright infringement and there is also an extremely high risk that they will not be relevant or specific to your website which in turn means they will offer you absolutely no protection.

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