The answer is yes. Every website or app should have legal terms governing its use. Why? Because these online agreements provide important legal protections for your business. Unconvinced? Here are 8 main reasons why you need Terms of Service for your business:
- To protect Your intellectual property so that others cannot copy any software, content or data from your website/app without your permission.
- To forbid Prevent users from taking adverse actions, such as (a) reselling your content or services without your permission; (b) post or transmit any objectionable or illegal content or virus; or (c) bring a class action against you
- Secure Your rights to (a) use User Submitted Ideas or Content; (b) use User Data in a lawful manner (e.g., to name a few, for aggregated insights, retargeting, to create personalized ads and content, etc.); (c) ban users who violate your rules; or simply (d) charge credit cards on file for paid services
- waiver Your liability for (a) third-party products and services featured or linked from your website/app, or (b) users who claim that their bad decisions are a result of your content or data
- lid Your liability if users sue you, giving you a fixed maximum exposure
- Reservations the right to recover monetary damages from users that harm you or your business; and to identify which court or jurisdiction hears claims affecting your business
- leverage any applicable “safe havens” for your industry (e.g. publishers are generally not liable for things others say on their website or app)
- Discourage frivolous lawsuits by having clear terms and conditions that apply to your users
Given the importance of online agreements, a company should never simply “copy and paste” another company’s terms of service. Aside from the potential copyright infringement that this practice creates, the terms of service should be tailored to each website or app. Although 80% of these online terms look very similar, the last 20% are probably where customized terms of service are most important. Therefore, any business with an online footprint, even if it’s just a simple website or app, should consider taking steps to create terms of service.