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Why do I need website terms of use?

What are website terms of use?

Website terms of use, also known as website terms and conditions or terms of service, govern the use of a website by visitors. These are distinct from terms and conditions of business which are concerned with the e-commerce aspects of selling goods or services online, rather than the way in which a website is used.

Website Ts & Cs should generally contain:

  • details of website owner/company including contact options

  • any permitted uses of website content

  • registration requirements, including password and other security measures

  • any necessary fees which need to be paid to use the website

  • if links are provided to other websites, there should be a disclaimer of liability for content on any linked sites

  • if your website allows user comments or enables any forms of user generated content, it’s important to request that users do not post anything illegal or which could be considered defamatory or abusive

  • website availability

  • VAT registration details (if applicable)

  • reference to any privacy or cookies policies, preferably together with links

Why do I need website terms of use?

Any businesses with an online presence - even those which are not actually selling goods or services on their website - must include certain details in order to abide by the Electronic Commerce Regulations, such as full company details. Website terms and conditions are the best place to include such information.

The proliferation of websites which allow user generated content, together with ever-changing defamation laws, means that it’s important for website owners to be able to prove that they have made every effort to discourage any undesirable activity by users.

Ensuring that your users understand the limitations of how they can use any website content, including text, images, videos and music, helps to secure your intellectual property.

How do I implement website terms of use?

A link to the website terms of use should ideally be visible from every page on your site - from the homepage at the very least. The more visible your terms to website visitors, the more likely that they will be considered to have been effectively implemented.

If you have a registration process, this can deal with agreement of users to website Ts and Cs.

You can ask users to accept the website terms in order to gain access to certain functionality.

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