Creating a ‘Terms of Use’ and Disclaimer Page – Protecting Yourself on the Web .


Creating a ‘Terms of Use’ and Disclaimer Page – Protecting Yourself on the Web

Legal protection has become extremely important these days as we live in a world of sue-happy people. On the flip side of this land of never ending lawsuits you also have an obligation to inform your readers that you are not personally liable for any misuse of information and that what you are providing is strictly for information (or entertainment) purposes only. In other words, you need to protect yourself.

At the bottom (or sometimes in other places) of most every web page you’ll find a ‘terms of use’ or some type of disclaimer. This is usually broken down into three major parts: a disclaimer, copyright, and privacy policy. Some have more or less, or worded differently. And some may have a separate hyper link for each while others may have it listed under one hyper link which will usually be named ‘terms of use’ or disclaimer. For my own website, I personally chose to go with one link naming it ‘terms of use.’ Depending on the nature of the content on your website, it’s not a bad idea to seek advice from an attorney who specializes in this area.

In all cases if you are using the WordPress CMS there is a Disclaimer Popup plugin, which helps you to create a modal window that the user must accept in order to visit the website.

The disclaimer is generally a statement whereas the reader is agreeing by viewing your web page that you are not responsible for any misuse of information and they are to proceed at their own risk. This covers you legally that if someone hurts themselves or experiences any misfortune, you’re simply not liable. Here’s an example of a disclaimer (you will obviously need to cater it to your own site):

Disclaimer: Please read carefully before using this site. The content on this site is for informational purposes only and is not in any way intended to constitute advice from trained professionals in any field. By visiting this site, you agree to use information within this site at your own risk. The author(s) shall not be held responsible for any injury, loss, expense, or damage in any way, shape or form, directly or indirectly, experienced or sustained by any person resulting from the use of information in this site.

Next we’ll move on to the copyright. Your copyright should be worded to protect your business and/or domain name, logo(s), and content. An example is:

‘YOUR BUSINESS/WEBSITE NAME’ reserves all rights under copyright, trademark and other applicable laws in the contents of ‘YOUR BUSINESS/WEBSITE NAME’ website.

Privacy policies are equally important as this reassures your readers that you’re not going to sell or misuse their personal information, and that they’re information will be held. An example of a privacy policy is:

We do not under any circumstances give our or sell any personal information or email addresses. Any information received will be information directly from ‘YOUR BUSINESS/WEBSITE NAME.’ You reserve the right to opt in or opt out of all contact from ‘YOUR BUSINESS/WEBSITE NAME.’

Again, the best practice for your ‘terms of use’ and such would be to get legal advice from an actual attorney. But if you don’t want to spend the money you can find websites that are similar to yours and get ideas from their disclaimers. If you choose this route, my personal advice is to gather disclaimer info from several sites and create one that is specific to your site. Remember, the goal with this is to protect yourself, your business, and reassurance for your readers.

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