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Website Terms of Use

The website terms of use is to inform visitors to your website of the terms on which they may use your website. It is a set of rules detailing how visitors are allowed to use your website and what will happen if they use it in an unacceptable way. Please note that if you have used our Terms of Services - Saas and made the resulting terms of services available on your website, you do not need to have these separate terms.

When should you use a Website Terms of Use?

The website terms of use is a form of protection for you as it seeks to prevent the unauthorised reproduction of material contained on the website, and undesirable user behaviour such as introducing viruses and uploading illegal or defamatory content. The terms in the version available on PocketLaw are deliberately broad and general so that the website terms of use can be adapted to most websites. The terms do also allow you to remove any offending material posted by a visitor or user as well as the ability to suspend, or permanently disable, a visitor or user’s right to access the website in the event that the visitor or user does not comply with the terms in your website terms of use.

The website terms of use also ensures that you maintain ownership over all intellectual property rights in the website. However, in practice, it is often difficult to pursue any unauthorised copying of website content. It is therefore advisable that you put technical measures in place to prevent extraction or copying of your website content in addition to the terms. 

The website terms of use should be used together with other documents such as Acceptable Use Policy, Privacy Policy, Cookies Policy etc, which are all available on PocketLaw. 

The wording in the website terms of use assumes that the site is available to visitors free of charge and it is not anticipated that the website terms of use will be negotiated.  

Why is a Website Terms of Use important and why should you use a Website Terms of Use?

Whilst not strictly required by law, having a website terms of use is best practice for businesses with an online presence as it will allow you to have control over what you could be liable for in the event of an illegal act. A website terms of use would likely give visitors and users more confidence in your business as it gives your business more credibility and make it seem more professional.

Having a website terms of use would ensure that visitors and users have clarity as to how they are allowed to use your website and under what circumstances you would be able to withdraw your services or close a user or visitor’s account.

It is especially important to have a website terms of use if users and/or visitors are able to upload any content or information onto the site. The terms will ensure that users and visitors are aware of their obligations to act in a certain manner, not introduce any technologically harmful content (such as viruses, trojans etc) and to avoid uploading any content that is obscene, offensive, hateful, deceiving, defamatory, sexual, violent or illegal.

What are the common pitfalls of a Website Terms of Use?

As mentioned above, this website terms of use  should be used in conjunction with the other terms and policies mentioned above. It is therefore very important that this website terms of use  should not contradict the other terms and policies as that would cause confusion as well as potential legal issues. 

The website terms of use should be clearly visible and easily accessible to all users and visitors of the website. As you will require clear consent from each user and visitor for the terms to be binding on them, we would recommend that an active opt-in, such as requiring users and visitors to click on an acceptance button before they use the site, be put in place. 

As these terms can be used for both business users and consumer users, it is important for you to be aware that consumer protection laws still apply. For example, the provision of a free website could still be deemed as a provision of a service and thus certain quality and standard may be deemed to apply. We would therefore strongly recommend that any sale, subscription, order or engagement should be done separately with specific terms and conditions that apply in order to ensure that clear and separate terms apply to such sale, subscription, order or engagement.

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