Terms of service agreements are incredibly important because they define the relationship between your website or software and your end users. Terms of service agreements make clear your ownership of your intellectual property and provide your users with limited permission to use that intellectual property for its intended purposes.Terms of service agreements also prohibit specific conduct, such as framing, hacking, data mining, and scraping. Without a terms of service agreement, these activities may be allowed; with a terms of service agreement, the website owner has a cause of action for breach of contract if these actions are undertaken. Terms of service agreements also specify the conditions of subscription and payment. They set the place and location for the resolution of disputes, and they often contain arbitration clauses to keep the costs associated with any dispute low.
Most importantly, however, terms of service agreements provide you with a limitation of liability and indemnification for a breach of the terms of service conditions by the end user. Additionally, they may provide you with certain safe harbor protections, which allow you to escape liability in certain circumstances (see Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act). These clauses provide your website or service with much needed protection from third party lawsuits.
If you need a terms of service lawyer, contact the terms of service lawyers at Revision Legal at 855-473-8474 or complete the contact form on this page.
A version of this post was published on August 19, 2013.
Image credit to Flickr user Prepayasyougo.