You might wonder whether you really need a terms and conditions agreement on your website or not. You’re not legally obligated to provide T&Cs, but it’s strongly recommended because it gives you more control over who uses your site and services, as well as the ability to ban certain actions or individuals.
Although you’re not obligated to have T&Cs for your website, there are some compelling reasons to have them.
T&Cs help to prevent abuses
Your T&Cs are essentially a legally binding contract between you and your users. This contract explains what rules and guidelines visitors and users must follow in order to continue to use your site.
It also explains what action you may take if users don’t follow the rules or are abusive to others. For example, using derogatory language or spamming other users. This is especially useful if you have a lot of user-generated content on your site; if contributors know that abuse won’t be tolerated, it’ll dissuade most of them and anyone who does break rules can be banned.
T&Cs help you to own your content
If you own your website, your T&Cs can let everyone know that you own the logo, the design and any content that isn’t user-generated and that your content is protected by international copyright laws.
T&Cs enable you to terminate accounts
You already have the ability to prevent abusive behaviour and to temporarily ban users if they break rules. Sometimes users make mistakes and learn their lesson after a temporary ban, but sometimes they don’t. If a user is repeatedly abusing your site and services, then you have a termination clause that tells users they’ll be banned permanently.
Termination clauses are useful with sites that ask users to register before they can access some or all sections.
T&Cs help you to limit your liability
You can include a warranty disclaimer to limit your liability in the event of errors or wrong information in the content on the site.
The clause explains that you can’t be held liable or responsible for errors in the content; for “bad advice”, for example.
You can set the governing law
The governing law clause in your T&Cs tells users which jurisdiction covers your agreement. If your website is for a company or service registered in Australia, for example, then Australia is the governing jurisdiction. You are governed by Australian laws.
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