1. Limitation of Liability for Errors
Protecting yourself and your business is one of the most important reasons for having a terms of service agreement. Most agreements contain a disclaimer or disclaimer to reduce the website owner’s liability for errors in website content. In theory, this reduces the strength of any case a website visitor could make for personal injury or property damage if allegedly affected by misinformation.
The internet is full of websites with misinformation. The US legal system makes it relatively easy for businesses and consumers to sue for a negative experience or impact. It is also relatively common for companies to be sued for baseless allegations, even at times when no wrongdoing has occurred. Website owners should prepare for this and take seriously the inherent (and sometimes unfair) risks of operating in such a public manner.
2. Limitation of Liability for User Content
If your website involves user interactions such as a comments section, social media features, chat rooms or forums, a terms of service agreement can serve to insulate the website from user-generated content. ‘user. This is especially important if users can freely upload their own digital media to an online platform.
Limiting liability for User Content via a terms of service agreement does not necessarily absolve a website from responsibility for monitoring and moderating User Content.
3. Protect content
4. Prevent abuse
Many terms of service agreements prohibit malware, robots, and spiders from accessing a website. Websites with user interactions usually also attempt to prohibit spam or other malicious user activity that is often considered abuse. It’s common for a terms of service agreement to include a termination clause outlining what it takes to get banned for abusive conduct.
5. Declare the applicable law
A “governing law clause” or “choice of law provision” in a terms of service agreement simply expresses a preference as to which laws will apply to website activity, but courts have tend to appreciate these statements and treat them favorably. As courts look at the issue from all angles in a dispute, a governing law clause can be an important factor.