Website Terms of Use

Want to find out more about website terms of use?

Please read on.

Having terms of use on your website is a great way of providing legal protection to the business by limiting liability in case a website visitor decides to take legal action against you, or if you want to take legal action against a website visitor. If you’ve clearly displayed all the legal terms freely on your website, that goes a long way to rebut any arguments that they weren’t aware of any terms prior to using your website. 

What are website terms of use?

website terms of use service

Website terms of use should be freely available on your website and disclose all the major legal obligations which users need to consider before they browse your website. They disclose  the rules and guidelines for using the website, including user responsibilities, intellectual property rights, and limitations of liability. They also outline the website’s privacy practices, security measures, and the procedures for handling user-generated content and potential disputes. 

We strongly recommend obtaining expert and considered legal advice before publishing your website terms of use, to make sure they are covering your business. It’s important to ensure there is nothing left unsaid, everything is clear in black-and-white, nothing contradictory or vague. The key is not to leave any loopholes.

What should be in website terms of use?

1. Visitor acceptance of terms

Begin by clearly outlining the visitor’s acceptance of your terms of use. This establishes a legal contract between your business and the user, ensuring they are aware of and agree to the conditions before engaging with your website. 

2. Users’ responsibilities

Your website terms of use should contain details information on how users are expected to behave while using the website, including prohibited activities (e.g., illegal activities, spamming, harassment). 

3. Intellectual property protection

Emphasise that all content and trademarks on your website are the sole intellectual property of your business. Explicitly prohibit users from copying, reproducing, or exploiting your intellectual property. This safeguards your brand identity and creative assets. 

4. Disclaimers and limitations of liability

Include disclaimers outlining specific circumstances for which your business is not liable or responsible. This could include limitations on product performance, external factors affecting service delivery, or any events beyond your control. Additionally, consider seeking an indemnity from users to protect against claims arising from website usage.

Key takeaways

It’s important to differentiate Website Terms of Use from your general Terms and Conditions (also called Terms of Trade) with customers who purchase your products and/or services. These Terms and Conditions contain your pricing, refund policy, product and service specific disclaimers, cancellation policy etc.  

For more information on Terms and Conditions, explore our specialised Terms and Conditions services for various industries: 

Website terms of use FAQs

Is it a legal requirement to have terms of use on a website?

While not always a legal requirement, having website terms of use is highly recommended as it sets clear rules and guidelines for users, protects the website owner from potential liabilities, and can be legally binding in case of disputes.

Certain industries or regions may have specific regulations requiring terms of use, especially concerning privacy and consumer protection. 

What is a website terms of use?

A website terms of use is a document that simply governs how any user is permitted to operate on the website and any conditions of entry. 

It doesn’t tend to deal with provisions specific to the products or services on offer but essentially outlines: 

  • how the website user is permitted to use the website, 
  • that the business is not responsible to links to third party websites (as they would have their own terms of use), 
  • that the business is not responsible for any downtime of the website, 
  • that while the business would have security measures in place, that the business cannot guarantee that the website will be free of viruses, hackers and the like, which is outside of its control. 

What legal disclaimers are needed on my website?

Disclaimers are a great way to limit your legal liability for “big ticket” items of risk.

Generally, disclaimers should highlight any circumstances that you want to bring to your customer’s attention that they acknowledge your business is not responsible or liable for and any other matters that limit your liability.

Disclaimers vary depending on the type of business, whether you sell products or services, but for example might include:

  • that you must be over 18 to participate,
  • you don’t guarantee any results from your products or services or that you’re not providing any medical, legal or financial advice, or
  • that you are not responsible for anything that should have been disclosed by the customer etc.

Can I use someone else's terms of use?

Using someone else’s terms of use is extremely dangerous from a copyright perspective. 

If you copy someone else’s legal documents, it technically breaches their Copyright under the Copyright Act. There is now sophisticated software that allows a business to search for copyright infringed material and there is no defence to copyright infringement under these circumstances. 

There have been plenty of instances where competitors have seen copyright infringement and have taken those businesses to Court as it is fairly straightforward if it’s blatant copyright infringement. 

Get in touch with us for expert website terms of use advice

Feel free to contact us or call us below to find out more about our website terms of use service, and our other fixed-fee legal documents.

 1800 820 083