The answer is, in a typical lawyer fashion, “maybe”. These policies can set out rules for using your website, protect intellectual property within the website, limit liability, and more. Terms are often of particular importance for companies that provide services or sell products through their websites. Of course, as law students we are unable to give your business advice as to whether it has a specific need for any of the abovementioned policies. We can, however, provide information that may help you to come to your own conclusion.
What are Terms and Conditions?
Terms and Conditions explain the rules that visitors to your website have to comply with. A court would look to the terms and conditions if a claim was ever filed against your company. Terms might include clauses that address: a description of the services offered, intellectual property rights, termination of the agreement, governing law, e-commerce terms, restrictions on use, and liability.
What is a Privacy Notice?
If you are collecting data from visitors to your website, there are legal requirements as to how that information must be handled. A privacy notice explains: what information is collected from what sources; how that information is used; how that information is stored; if and how that information is disclosed. A notice will also set out the choices available to the visitor with respect to their personal information.
Online Contracts in General
For a contract with a visitor to your website to be binding, the visitor must consent to the terms of that contract. Depending on the type of website, relying on a link to a “legal terms and conditions” page might not be sufficient. The visitor might have to scroll through the contract and click an “I accept” button (browse-wrap agreements vs. click-wrap agreements).
Students at the Business Venture Clinic can provide memos that detail the relevant laws and the specific differences between click-wrap and browse-wrap agreements. We can also provide draft terms and conditions, draft privacy notices, and draft cookie policies.
Britta Graversen is a third year student at the University of Calgary and is a caseworker for the BLG Business Venture Clinic.
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Blog posts are by students at the Business Venture Clinic. Student bios appear under each post.