Author: Millicent Nhepera, Law Graduate (LLB, LLM), located in Australia.
- To protect your intellectual property: A lot of things on your website are your intellectual property. This can be in the form of blog posts that you have written or products that you are selling. Whatever the case may be, website terms can be written to ensure that your intellectual property is protected from theft and unauthorised replication and use.
1. An intellectual property clause
- That visitors must not do anything that will infringe your intellectual property rights on your website.
- They must provide truthful information when registering on your website.
- That visitors must not use any spamming or robots to compromise the security of your website.
2. A disclaimer limiting liability
Adding an appropriately worded disclaimer may therefore protect you from a situation where someone suffers some kind of loss, financial or otherwise because they relied on the information that they got from your website. You can explicitly state in your disclaimer that you will not be liable for the loss that they suffered from reliance on that information, thereby limiting your liability.
Most online stores will have a feature where you create an account and have login details to that business. You can state here that visitors should not share their login information. In so doing, if they suffer any loss from doing so, you may not be liable for that loss.
You can also include an element about viruses that may affect the visitors’ computer system from visiting your website. This is where you can include an “at your own risk” element, so that if there is some virus that affects visitors to your website, you are not liable for that. Online viruses and malicious software that can be embedded into websites are rampant. Even with the best monitoring mechanisms, these may be difficult to detect. A clause like this is vital in this online environment to protect yourself and your business.
3. A jurisdiction clause
You need to state which laws are governing the use of your website. So, if it is Australia, you would need to state the country along with the governing State. If you have websites in multiple countries, then you would need to state the country and the laws that govern that as well.
4. A clause dealing with information Gathering
5. A third party clause
This is most useful for websites like blogs, which may run advertisements from their websites through third-party companies like Mediavine or Google Adsence. If this is your business model for your website, you want to make sure that this element is adequately addressed. It is important that you protect your business from things that may go wrong as a result of a website visitor clicking through to an advertisement on your website. You want to make sure that you are not liable for any inaccuracies, content gaps, viruses or malicious code on the third party’s end.
What you can do next
How can Prosper Law help
Prosper Law is Australia’s online law firm. We provide legal advice to businesses and individuals across Australia. Our areas of legal practice include contracts, eCommerce, publishing, legal counsel and employment law.
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