Free Forums Website Terms and Conditions
These Free Forums Website Terms and Conditions are designed for use with websites offering free discussion forums for a range of different topics. While allowing free and flexible use of all content concerned, these terms and conditions for forums nevertheless differentiate between content owned by the website operator and that owned by users. Users are deemed to grant the website operator a licence to use their posts as necessary to operate the site.
As with many website terms and conditions, these are designed for acceptance through use. In other words, visitors to your website are deemed to have accepted them as soon as they start using the site. Provision is also made for user accounts (required for forum posts); an option is therefore included should you wish to make acceptance of the terms and conditions a part of the account sign-up process.
Important information about the website operator is provided, including company registration details, trading address, and details of any relevant regulatory bodies or associations. For certain trades and professions there may be additional information that website operators are required by law to provide. If, for example, the operator is an investment company, it must identify itself as such. Members of regulated professions should include professional titles, links to professional rules and other important details. Such details are not included in this template and professional advice should be sought by those working in regulated professions.
IP rights including, but not limited to, copyright are protected by these terms and conditions. Optional provisions are included in the template to allow you to choose how many freedoms to give to your users with regard to saving and copying material from your site, as well as establishing deep-links to pages within your site on other sites. Further provisions concerning linking are also designed to help to prohibit users from establishing links to your site from sites publishing unsavoury or unlawful content.
Users retain the ownership of copyright and any other IP in their posts (unless they have used content belonging to someone else, with permission, in which case that content belongs to them), however they grant a licence to the website operator to use that content for the purposes necessary to operate the website. Users are also informed that their posts can be re-used by other users as appropriate, for example in quotes, re-posts etc. within the forums.
Disclaimers and liability provisions in this document seek to protect website operators to the maximum extent deemed reasonable. It is important, however, to ensure that such provisions are not unduly biased against users – particularly when dealing with consumers – lest they be considered unfair in the eyes of the law. Additional liability provisions, therefore, are provided that apply only to business users.
In addition, the IP protection provisions in this document also make it clear that the content of your website is not designed for commercial use but that users in a commercial environment are not prohibited from accessing it. An optional phrase is included to clarify this.
Of further relevance to the submission of forum posts is the Acceptable Usage Policy. Applying to the use of the website in general, but in particular to the submission of posts, the policy sets out clearly the types of material and conduct that will not be accepted. Sanctions for breach are also included.
Further key clauses address internet security, data protection, privacy and cookies (integrating separate policies into the terms and conditions by reference), and opting in and out of marketing communications. All parts of this template are designed to be compatible with consumer protection legislation including, but not limited to, the Consumer Rights Act 2015.
This template is duplicated in the Internet & E-Commerce group.
Optional phrases / clauses are enclosed in square brackets. These should be read carefully and selected so as to be compatible with one another. Unused options should be removed from the document.
These Free Forums Website Terms and Conditions contain the following clauses:
1. Definitions and Interpretation
2. Information About Us
3. Access to Our Site
5. Intellectual Property Rights and Our Site
6. Forum Posts
7. Acceptable Usage Policy
8. Links to Our Site
9. Links to Other Sites
11. Disclaimers and Legal Rights
12. Our Liability
13. Viruses, Malware and Security
14. Privacy and Cookies
15. Data Protection
16. Communications from Us
17. Changes to these Terms and Conditions
18. Contacting Us
19. Law and Jurisdiction
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