A terms of use agreement serves as a contract between a website operator and a website user, essentially allowing the operator to set ground rules for the website’s use. These agreements have become a near-necessity for website operators because they help show that users understand how they are permitted to interact with the website and that they have agreed to adhere to those parameters of interaction. Thus, any company with an online presence should consider including a well-crafted terms of use agreement for several reasons.

The Agreement Can Help Protect Your Website’s Content

Within a terms of use agreement, the operator can inform users of how they may use the website and how they may not use a website. Further, if the website allows account registration, the agreement may include a termination clause, which permits the operator to terminate the account and ban the user from the site, typically at the operator’s complete discretion.

A terms of use agreement may also limit the operator’s liability by disclaiming that the operator cannot be held liable for any errors found in the website’s content or by limiting liability to the amount that the user paid for the website’s services. It may disclaim warranties of fitness or merchantability that might otherwise apply to products that the website sells.

Finally, the terms of use agreement can determine the jurisdiction that will govern the interpretation and adjudication of the agreement. Typically, the jurisdiction should be where the law is favorable to the operator or where the operator is physically located.

The Agreement Can Help Protect Your Website’s Users

A terms of use agreement can also help ensure that a website user’s interaction with the website is a pleasant experience. For instance, the agreement can dictate the way in which users can interact with each other, and it can disallow spamming or directing abusive content toward other users. Such provisions are typically coupled with the previously mentioned termination clause.

The Agreement Can Help Protect Your Intellectual Property

An intellectual property clause within a terms of use agreement can provide an invaluable opportunity to reinforce protection of any intellectual property integrated into the website. Generally, it might say that the website and its original content, design, features, functionality, and other intellectual property are owned by the website’s operator.

A detailed terms of use agreement is an important safeguard for any company with an online presence. And the most important thing to remember is that mutual assent between the website operator and user should be present if a company wants its agreement enforced.

Read for more for additional information regarding terms of use agreements, internet business, and eCommerce.

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Klemchuk LLP is an Intellectual Property (IP), Technology, Internet, and Business law firm located in Dallas, TX. The firm offers comprehensive legal services including litigation and enforcement of all forms of IP as well as registration and licensing of patents, trademarks, trade dress, and copyrights. The firm also provides a wide range of technology, internet, e-commerce, and business services including business planning, formation, and financing, mergers and acquisitions, business litigation, data privacy, and domain name dispute resolution. Additional information about the firm and its attorneys may be found at www.klemchuk.com.