Free Digital Content + User Content Website Terms of Use Template

Free Digital Content + User Content Website Terms of Use

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These Free Digital Content + User Content Website Terms of Use are designed for use with websites offering free media such as information, images, sound, and video (“digital content”) for general use, with the facility for users to upload and share their own material. They are suitable for a wide range of different websites – particularly those designed for sharing creative work.

This document has been comprehensively reviewed and updated. Many parts have been re-worded to make them simpler, clearer, and more user-friendly. Some portions of the document have been re-structured, also to improve user-friendliness. This template now refers to a separate Acceptable Use Policy which covers both user content and communications between users. Further, following a European Commission recommendation, these Terms of Use now expressly state that your site does not store terrorist content.

These Website Terms of Use are intended to be accepted through use. Visitors are deemed to have accepted them as soon as they start using your site. This is made clear at the start of the terms. Users may also be required to accept the terms when signing up for an account. References are included to other terms which apply to the site itself, such as your Privacy Policy and Acceptable Use Policy.

Important information about your business should be 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 you are required to provide by law. 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 is particularly important when dealing with digital content. Detailed provisions in this document address intellectual property rights. Various options are included in the document to allow you to choose how many freedoms to give your users when it comes to saving and copying material from your website. These options are grouped into two versions of the intellectual property clause. The first is more restrictive; the second, more flexible with more options. In either case, use of your content can be restricted to personal use or can be opened up to commercial use as well.

User content is handled in a dedicated section of the template. Users retain the IP rights in their content and grant a licence to you to the extent necessary to use their content to operate your site. Different options are included in the document to cater for the use of user content by other users on the site.

It is important to set out who is responsible for user content. These Terms of Use require a warranty from users that they will comply with your Acceptable Use Policy and will indemnify you for their breach of that warranty if you suffer loss or damage as a result. Users are also responsible for backing up their content themselves and you are not responsible if any is lost.

If a user wishes to complain about another user’s content, a clause in these Terms of Use tells them how to do so. An optional link is also provided to a page on your site where you should 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”. Because methods and systems are likely to vary considerably from site to site, we do not provide a template for this information.

Further key provisions in the document address links to and from the site, disclaimers, liability (with different provisions for consumers and business users), viruses and security, and acceptable use of the website.

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. Please note that while clause numbering is automatic, cross references to other clauses within the text do not update automatically and must be changed manually if the addition or removal of other clauses changes numbering.

This document is also available in the Website Terms & Conditions group.

These Free Digital Content + User Content Website Terms of Use contain the following clauses:

1. Definitions and Interpretation
2. Information About Us
3. How to Contact Us [and Your Use of Our Contact Tools]
4. Access to Our Site
5. Changes to Our Site
6. Changes to these Terms and Conditions
7. Accounts
8. [International Users]
9. How You May Use Our Site and Content (Intellectual Property)
10. User Content
11. User Content, Your Rights, Our Rights, and Users’ Rights (Intellectual Property)
12. Links to Our Site
13. Links to Other Sites
14. [Advertising]
15. Disclaimers
16. Our Liability
17. Viruses, Malware, and Security
18. Acceptable Usage of Our Site
19. How We Use Your Personal Information
20. Communications from Us
21. Law and Jurisdiction

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