Not Just Legalese – How To Write Legal Notices For Websites

Many perceive websites as static and anonymous entities, but they allow interactions between users and a webmaster. If you’re entering somebody’s home, there are certain rules your host has and courteously, you must agree to follow these. The same is true of websites.

The Multiple Parts of A Website’s Legal Notices

A legal notice for a website usually has multiple aspects, as a home has multiple rooms. No matter how big or small the online space, a properly written legal notice frees the webmaster and website owner from liability – as long as it includes all the right clauses. To be effective, the website’s legal notice doesn’t have to be foolproof or exhaustive, just take into account specific situations and outline the clauses that cover what would happen in each situation. These include: conditions of use, accessibility, reliability of information posted, extent of liability, changes and updates to the site, terms of linking, and third party website liability.

Taking It One Step Further

Legal notice templates help owners of sites get a sense of which clauses apply to them, simplifying the process. However, sites for news corporations or large organizations naturally have more robust legal notices. Often, these sites will include clauses that outline terms regarding IP rights, prohibited uses, interactive services (such as blog commenting and forum posts), suspension or termination of accounts, and content standards. Clauses about interactive services include whether blog comments and forum posts will be moderated. Clauses about prohibited uses outline lawful and unlawful use of the site and its content. A clause regarding suspension or termination of accounts would depend on the acceptable use clause – if it has been breached, this section would tell users what action they can expect.

Like a well-fitted, tailor-made bespoke suit, online legal notices should be a perfect fit for the site they’re protecting. It all depends on the function of the site. For example, a site dedicated to an e-course will have different type of protection than a site made for e-commerce.