Terms and Conditions for Website Use

*Updated for GDPR*

These terms and conditions of website use are to be used by those who run a website that is used by consumers. It sets out your responsibilities as the person running the website, as well as the rules for those people that use your website. The terms include important information about you as the website operator, which have to be provided to users and the terms and conditions are a good place to do this. The terms can also help to protect your website and your business. They do this in a number of ways including by limiting your responsibility if there is an error on the site, preventing unauthorised access to the website, protecting your intellectual property rights (which are things such as copyright) in the information on the website, and setting out the law that governs the website.

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Step-by-step guide

Let’s walk you through how to go about drafting terms and conditions for website use, something you need if you own your own website.

Follow these simple steps to ensure that you are adequately protected…

  1. Firstly, introduce the document, and the website, and explain what the terms and conditions are for to regulate the terms on which the user can access your website. Make it clear that the user is automatically bound by the terms and conditions simply by using the site – no further formality (such as a signature) is required.

  2. Then, include all the necessary information about the company so that the user knows exactly who they are dealing with and how to contact you.

  3. Then you set out who can use the site, that they must keep security information confidential and most importantly, that they have to follow the acceptable use policy when using the website. It also makes clear that you can stop someone from using your website and the limits on the information in the website, for example that it may be out of date and doesn’t contain advice that the user can rely on. This section also provides a link to the privacy policy, which tells users what information you collect about them and what you do with that information.

  4. The intellectual property section includes things like copyright. It explains that it is you as the owner of the website, and not the user, who owns the ideas and designs on the website.

  5. You then explain what you will and will not be responsible for – you don’t want to be responsible if, for example, the site goes down because of a failure by your ISP. So it is common to limit your liability to users for problems or any loss they experience using the site. You also want to make it clear that you’re not liable for things such as loss of income or profit that a user may suffer when using the website.

  6. It is important to outline the correct procedure for uploading to the website, if users are allowed to do that, and to put the responsibility on them for their own content, which should meet the standards required in the acceptable use policy. You should also make it clear that the material that they upload is not owned by them and you will immediately take down any content that breaches that policy.

  7. You should also make it clear that any misuse of the website that constitutes a criminal offence will be referred to the authorities. This might include introducing viruses or trying to damage the website in any way.

  8. You need to say that you will not be responsible for any links to other sites provided on your site or posted by other users on the website.

  9. Also explain that the terms and conditions may be subject to change at your discretion and that it’s worth checking them quite regularly to stay up to date.

  10. If you have a registered trade mark that you use on the site set out what that is.

  11. Don’t forget to state that the agreement exists under English Law and any disputes can only be brought in the courts of England and Wales. Most sites have global reach, so you don’t want a user making a claim against you outside of this country or using foreign law,

  12. Lastly, make sure you provide contact details at the bottom.

Remember, if you come unstuck at any point, our LawBriefs are here to help. Visit our legal advice page to submit an online enquiry or call us on 020 7148 1066.

Best of luck in your SME journey.

Document drafted by:

Clive Rich LawBrief

Clive Rich is a highly experienced entertainment and digital media lawyer, who has also successfully run digital businesses for companies such as Sony and Bertelsmann.

A qualified barrister, he has been a lawyer for almost 30 years and has drafted and crafted contracts for a broad spectrum of multi-nationals, major organisations and brands, including Yahoo, Apple, Napster, SanDisk, Myspace and the BBC.

He has also previously run his own legal practice, Rich Futures Ltd in association with the Top 30 UK law firm, Olswang LLP, representing a variety of technology companies and SMEs.

Clive is a qualified Mediator through the Centre for Effective Dispute Resolution (CEDR) and a qualified Arbitrator through the Central Institute of Arbitration (CIArb) in London.

As a negotiator, he is the author of “The Yes Book: the Art of Better Negotiation”, published by Random House in March 2013. Clive has also designed and successfully launched a negotiation App called “Close My Deal”, enabling people to understand the basis of successful negotiation and apply the skills to everyday scenarios. He has provided negotiating coaching and deal making services to a wide range of large organisations and SMEs. He has also been a board member of a number of digital SMEs.

Clive is a devoted father and husband, but when he is not spending time with his family, he likes to unwind by playing golf or watching a variety of sports (football, rugby, cricket). He's a lifelong Milwall FC fan... but don't hold that against him!