What Should a Website Terms of Use Agreement Cover?

Just as software comes with a license agreement, all business websites should have a terms of use agreement. If your site contains copyrighted content, offers advice, or sells products or services, a terms of use agreement can protect you.

What your terms of use agreement will cover will depend on the nature of your business. Here are three examples of what a terms of use agreement would cover for three different kinds of businesses.

The first site offers advice on health topics and recommends products for use. Since offering medical advice can be fraught with legal problems, a site of this type would need a disclaimer stating that the information provided does not constitute a medical opinion, that no remedy or information provided should be used without consulting a physician, and other legal considerations.

The second site sells information on how to make money from home. Since individual results can vary greatly, this site’s terms of use agreement should state that the company does not guarantee success of the program.

The third site offers users the ability to read copyrighted material free of charge, but prohibits the sharing, dissemination, or sale of this material. A terms of use agreement for this site would clearly state what can and can’t be done with the information provided and what action will be taken if the terms of use agreement is broken.

Get in touch with your legal counsel to draft a terms of use agreement that will cover your company in all events of misuse, theft, or unauthorized use of your material. Having a professional write your agreement will ensure that your company is covered and will give you greater recourse in the event that someone breaks this agreement.

Now that you have your agreement ready, you’ll need to post it prominently on your site and link to it. If no one can see your terms of use agreement, it may not offer you any protection.

Commonly, a link to the terms of use agreement is linked at the bottom of the pages of your website, next to the Privacy Policy. You can post a notice that use of your site constitutes acceptance of your agreement, or you can even require that users agree to the terms of use agreement before they can enter your site.

Businesses cannot be too careful when it comes to protecting their interests. A terms of use agreement can provide necessary peace of mind and the assurance that you’ll have recourse should someone fail to follow this agreement.

Visit the AllBusiness.com Forms and Agreements Center for a Sample Terms of Use Agreement and a Sample Privacy Policy for your site. AllBusiness.com provides resources to help small and growing businesses start, manage, finance and expand their business.