Friday, March 29, 2013

Terms of Use

If everyone in the world thinks terms of use aren't enforceable, why are they?

Terms of Use (TOUs) are the contractual terms website visitors agree to when they go to a website. They're not quite the click-wrap licenses (e.g., the contracts where you click a box that states you agree when making purchases online) that require affirmative consent from the offeree, which are generally considered acceptable regardless of whether offerees read the license terms.

Instead they are a little more of a grey area, but they're the foundation on which sites like Pinterest, Facebook, and YouTube stake their liability for your use of their services. The biggest (i.e., most money-making) issue that keeps cropping up is liabilty for copyright infringement.

For a few interesting articles on the headaches Pinterest has had related to copyright and its TOU, check out the following:
If you're tasked with drafting TOUs at your summer job, check out E-Commerce and Internet Law. It's a handy book that includes form contracts. Though it's available on Westlaw, keep in mind the online license you agreed to when signing up for Westlaw prohibits your use of Westlaw while working for a firm this summer. For more regarding what you can and can't do with your Westlaw, Lexis, and Bloomberg accounts this summer, check out next week's edition of the e-Record.