Templates for User Content Websites

October 2020

Website terms of use, also commonly known as terms and conditions, play a vital role on any website. Terms of use should provide important information about you and your site, including the various rights and obligations governing your operation of the site and your users’ use of it.

Users are told what they can and cannot do with the content you provide, and rules governing sharing and linking will be set out. Important on any website, but particularly those allowing users to share their own content or comments, are rules governing user conduct.

Simply-Docs Website Terms and Conditions Review

Here at Simply-Docs, we have offered a wide range of website terms and conditions templates for many years. As with all of our documents, these are reviewed periodically to ensure that they are kept up to date with developments in law and business practice. We are currently reviewing and updating all of our website terms and conditions templates and adding new documents to further enhance our range.

Updated Terms of Use for User Content Websites

Back in August, we released updated versions of our terms of use for websites providing free content. This month, we’re adding to those with updated versions of these documents for sites which also allow users to share their own content and comments.

These templates have been reviewed in detail and rebuilt from the ground up. They have been updated in line with current best practice and include some important improvements. Overall, the documents have been re-worked to make them simpler (where possible), clearer, and more user-friendly. Certain portions have also been re-structured to make them easier for users to follow.

Giving users the ability to share their own content on your site adds great value to the user experience and provides important functionality. It also brings with it increased risk and responsibility for you and must be handled with care.

Your terms and conditions should set out very clearly who is responsible for user content – whatever form that content takes. You should have an Acceptable Usage Policy in place, either as a separate document integrated into your terms by reference (the approach taken in our updated documents), or as a set of provisions within your terms and conditions. In these updated terms and conditions, users of your site warrant that they will comply with your Acceptable Usage Policy and agree to indemnify you for loss or damage suffered as a result of their breach of it.

It is also important to make sure that users know how to complain about content shared by others on your site. Our updated terms and conditions include a reference to such information. An optional link within the terms is also provided for you to refer to another page on your site where you explain how your reporting and take-down process works; how your guidelines are developed, enforced, and reviewed; and where you provide information on metrics and take-down. This reflects guidance from the UK Government’s Code of Practice for Providers of Online Social Media Platforms.

The contents of this Newsletter are for reference purposes only and do not constitute legal advice. Independent legal advice should be sought in relation to any specific legal matter.

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