The legal policies that accompany your startup’s website or mobile app are important. Last week we explained why you might need them, this week we’ll explain what goes in them.

Terms of Use

As we explained last week, your Terms of Use are legal terms that your users accept and agree to when they use your website or app.

Here are some things you might include in your Terms of Use:

  • A limited license to use your website or app.
  • A prohibition on uses you don’t want on your site, such as bots, automated scraping, etc.
  • An age limit (it is common for websites to prohibit children under 13 to avoid issues with COPPA).
  • Requirements and rules for creating, managing, and deleting user accounts.
  • A statement that you (or your licensors) own the content and related intellectual property on your website.
  • If your users can upload content, then terms regarding what rights they retain in that content.
    • And if that content will be visible to other users on your website, a DMCA Policy. (We’ll cover that in a future post.)
  • If you charge fees to use your service, then payment, refund, and cancellation terms.
  • If you offer APIs, then API-specific terms (or you can create a separate agreement for API use).
  • Disclaimers and limitations on your liability (for things like the website or app going down, people misusing someone else’s data that that other person shared publicly on the site, etc.).
  • An agreement to arbitrate disputes rather than suing in courts.
  • Various miscellaneous legal terms like assignability, governing law, etc.
  • And last but definitely not least, a section detailing how you can amend the Terms of Use (in most cases, you will retain the right to unilaterally amend the terms, provided you send users advance notice).

Privacy Policy

As we explained last week, your Privacy Policy is just that – a policy that dictates how you handle user privacy

Here are some things you might include in your Privacy Policy:

  • Disclosure of the types of information you collect automatically (analytics tracking information, etc.).
  • Disclosure of the types of personal information you collect (names, emails, etc.)
  • A description of how you use the data you collect (including how you use personal information) and a consent from the user to those uses (for example, improving the website, contacting them, serving ads, etc.)
  • If you provide or sell any data to third parties, a disclosure of that practice.
  • If you accept payment on your website, terms regarding how their payment information is used.
  • Consent from the user to disclose user information to law enforcement and other government entities.
  • And last but definitely not least, a section detailing how you can amend the Privacy Policy (in most cases, you will retain the right to unilaterally amend the terms, provided you send users advance notice).

Smart Next Step for Your Startup

There are a lot of ways to get legal terms for your your startup. You can write your own, use language from other websites (but don’t commit copyright infringement), use an online terms generator, or hire a startup lawyer to help you.

Each has its own advantages and disadvantages, but I obviously think engaging a startup lawyer is the safest way to get your legal terms. And guess what, we do that! : )  Contact us to learn more.

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Image: Adobe/stringerphoto
*This article is very general in nature and does not constitute legal advice.