A terms of use (also called a TOS or ToU) defines the rules and regulations for visitors to your business website. The document protects the website owner by lessening any potential liability from erroneous content or other violations of law that might arise from visiting the site.

Etsy includes a link to their terms of use on every new account creation page, so users can read and agree to the rules before beginning to use their accounts. This helps avoid misunderstandings and potential disputes in the future.

Privacy Policy

A privacy policy accompanies a terms of use and sets out how user data will be used. It is legally required if you fall under data protection laws like the General Data Protection Regulation and California Consumer Privacy Act.

A terms of use may also contain a clause stating that the website owner is not responsible for third-party content. This helps to minimize liabilities and protects the company from legal disputes. It is particularly important if the site relies on user contributions such as comment sections or social media functions.

To help limit website abuse, consider including a termination clause in your terms of use that allows you to suspend or delete accounts that break your rules. Make sure to explain your account management process clearly so users understand the consequences of breaking the terms of service agreement. It is helpful to look at the terms of service agreements of similar websites for inspiration, such as e-commerce platforms or forum-based communities.

User Contributions

User contributions pages list edits that a particular user has made on a specific community (e.g. a wiki). If a logged in user clicks on their name at the top of the masthead they will see their contributions page. These pages are filterable by namespace and date, e.g. Special:Contributions/USERNAME or Special:Mycontributions. This is a useful feature to track the progress of contributors and help them to keep their work in context.

The User guarantees that he/she will not distribute through the Service Content or Metadata which infringes rights of Europeana or Third Parties, including intellectual property rights and rights relating to the protection of privacy; or which discriminates on the grounds of appearance, race, religion, sex, culture or origin; or which promotes violence or the abuse of others.

The User irrevocably grants to Europeana a free, unencumbered, worldwide and non-exclusive licence to use such Content and Metadata for the purposes of the Service in accordance with the terms of the Rights Statement selected by the User.

Waiver Of Rights

Waiver of rights clauses prevent a party from asserting certain rights in a lawsuit and can also limit where a lawsuit can be filed. These clauses are often used in extreme sports like skydiving and bungee jumping, as well as in gyms, fitness centers, and athletic programs.

While waivers are primarily legal tools, they serve an educational purpose by making participants think about the risks of participating in an activity. Some rights are unwaivable, such as the right to life or the right to privacy.

The Supreme Court has become more involved in waiver issues, and cases like Aetna Insurance Co v Kennedy and Johnson v Zerbst supply new guiding rhetoric. Generally, a waiver of rights can only be valid if the individual knows about the right being waived and intentionally relinquishes it. Waivers must be in writing and signed to be effective. Likewise, no breach of a contractual right can be excused unless the party knew about the right and intentionally waived it.

Standard Provisions

Regardless of whether you use a generator to create your website terms of service or have an attorney write them for you, it is always a good idea to read the Terms of Use of your direct competitors and companies in your same market space. This will give you a feel for the kinds of legal concerns they address and the ways in which their terms of service protect them from those concerns.

For example, many websites limit their liability from defamation by including language in their terms of service that makes it clear the company doesn’t endorse the thoughts, opinions and positions posted by users on the site. Other provisions that can be included in the Terms of Use include a disclaimer of warranties, privacy policies and international compliance requirements.

A dispute resolution clause can also be included in the Terms of Use. This explains what process your company will follow when a dispute arises about a user’s actions or comments on the site.