Anyone owning a website needs to set up terms of service (TOS) that spell out his or her responsibilities towards the visitors to that site. This is important for all kinds of websites (e-commerce sites and other sites that simply provide information). The TOS protect you from any liability issues that may arise. This article discusses some clauses that you should include in the TOS of your new website.
Logos, Trademarks and Content
You should state that copyright laws protect your logos, trademarks and content. This will alert the site visitors to the fact that they may be held liable in case they use any of that copyright-protected material without your consent. You should also stipulate that your visitors grant you unfettered ownership of any material (such as articles) that they submit to your site. This will protect you from liability claims in case you use that content to generate money and the provider of that content starts claiming a share of your earnings.
Your visitors should also be on notice that they are solely responsible for any material they post on the site in case that material is found to have infringed on another entity's copyright. You can also reserve the right to take down any material that you think infringes on the copyright of another individual or company.
A Choice of Law Clause
A liability suit may still be filed against you despite all your efforts to protect yourself. In such a case, a choice of law clause may be helpful. This clause stipulates which jurisdiction should be used to settle any issues that arise. For instance, you can include a clause that stipulates that Australian courts will be the first courts to hear any disputes that arise. This clause will protect you from being sued in jurisdictions whose laws can easily find you liable over matters you had no control over.
Data Breach Clause
Let the visitors of your site know that you will not be responsible for any outcomes in case someone uses their password to access material on your site. This clause may be helpful in case you have a section of your site that can only be accessed by users who have paid a subscription fee. This data breach clause will also help you to hold a user liable in case he or she does not report that his or her password was compromised and it was later used to access the private information of other users on your site.
You may not be able to design a TOS document that protects you adequately on your own. Contact a provider of legal services so that you get expert help to shield you from all the possible risks that your website may be exposed to.