Website Legal Documents

19 replies
Hi Guys!

Any advice for obtaining legal documents such as terms of use, privacy policy, ecommerce agreement, disclaimer, disclosure policy etc.

How does one go about obtaining these for a new site? Please give me some tips. This is the one thing that is holding me back in my internet entrepreneurial endeavors as I don't want my site to pick up any legal scratches!

Thanx for the help!
#documents #legal #website
  • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
    I had a lawyer do mine. That's the best option. Then you can discuss with them your specifics and particulars and make sure that the resulting documents are really something that is going to cover you and your situation.

    If you want to go with generic documents, here are a couple of threads with links:

    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...documents.html

    http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ct-myself.html
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  • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
    Welcome to the forum.

    What you need depends on your website. Maybe some generic documents will suffice. Maybe your situation requires a tweak or a wholesale new document to protect yourself.

    When your eyes start scanning below you will probably find what you need.
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  • Profile picture of the author winsoar
    I know a good solicitor in the UK who can draft them for you. But sorry can't help if it's for the USA.
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    • Profile picture of the author ronc0011
      I went to Haliburton's website and copied theirs then went through them carefully to personalize them to my needs. I figure Haliburton probably has a pretty good legal staff.
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      • Profile picture of the author jacktackett
        Originally Posted by ronc0011 View Post

        I went to Haliburton's website and copied theirs then went through them carefully to personalize them to my needs. I figure Haliburton probably has a pretty good legal staff.

        Wow, just wow.

        IANAL (and folks - just an FYI - kindsvater is a lawyer) but I think this is probably worse than having no forms on your page.

        Why - because now you're not only NOT covered for website legal terms, but you've opened yourself up to litigation for copyright infringement. And if they've registered their copyright - punitive damages on top of everything else.

        Copyright/Intellectual Property laws are complex, but I feel safe saying that just changing your person information in a document doesn't cover you for infringement. In fact, all you've done to my knowledge is create a derivative work, which is still infringing material.

        kindsvater and other internet lawyers like Mike Young know their stuff and provide generic packages of terms etc. But even they caution you that generic forms don't protect you completely.

        Take a hint from Dan - get professional help. If this is a business then this is just a cost of doing business.

        and for goodness sake - will folks just please stop copying stuff from the 'net thinking its ok.

        respectfully,
        --Jack
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      • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
        Originally Posted by ronc0011 View Post

        I went to Haliburton's website and copied theirs then went through them carefully to personalize them to my needs. I figure Haliburton probably has a pretty good legal staff.
        Nice idea, but frankly, naive and ultimately not very smart.

        There's a reason why my clients have had claims arising out of online legal terms against major companies like Blockbuster, Disney, eBay, American Express, Dole, and well, it's a very long list.

        It is because they have no idea what they are doing. Just because a company is big doesn't mean their legal staff is good for THESE ISSUES.

        On the contrary, many big corporate staffs have an incredible range of issues to deal from: from anti-trust matters, SEC financial compliance, employment disputes up the ying yang all over the country, environmental issues, trademark disputes, etc.

        Having good website legal terms is probably last on their to do list, and certainly not a major priority.

        An online legal problem which could be life altering and devastating for you may be just a minor pimple for Haliburton.

        You may be shocked, but some of these big companies simply copy terms they find on some other website - just like you did. They finally get their act together after someone like me gets involved.

        Another tip: many of these big companies have "litigation" departments headed by attorneys who have never seen the inside of a courtroom.
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        • Profile picture of the author ronc0011
          Just curious, but have you looked at Halliburton's legal pages on their website. The reason I ask is because I would be very interested to know the opinion of someone who actually specializes in this stuff. As you say Halliburton's legal staff almost certainly has a lot on their plate, on the other hand they span the globe and are at risk all over the planet (Halliburton is a very big company) Surely someone on their legal staff must have been given the task of making those documents as bulletproof as possible. It's been a while since I've reviewed the pages I actually put up on my site. It's a different site than the one in my sig and one that's not really doing anything at the moment. The stuff I put up of course had to be reworked. Some sections were not even relevant to my site and so they were just deleted from the documents. I think other sections may have needed minor altering. All & all though, being at least passingly familiar with Halliburton and after reading through the documents I felt that they had probably given some thought to the documents they chose to post.

          As to the whole copyright thing, I'm a little skeptical. For one I'm sure Hallliburton has bigger fish to fry than me. and two, just how many ways can you say don't do this or that before you begin to repeat yourself. The documents cover specific issues that are dealt with on many million web pages all over the web. I have to believe everything that can be said on any given topic has been said and repeated many times over.
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          • Profile picture of the author kindsvater
            Halliburton's a big company and I do not believe they sell anything directly from their website - so their legal terms may have a different purpose than yours.

            For example, in a report I gave earlier this year to Internet Marketing Law Center members I explained how one term found in Halliburton's legal terms almost caused a California small business owner to be thrown into jail, and ultimately caused him to pay a lot of money in a lawsuit my office brought.

            As for being skeptical about copyright issues for legal terms, you are obviously new to the forum and didn't get to watch one Warrior having to pay thousands of dollars for doing exactly what you propose: copying someone's website legal terms.
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            • Profile picture of the author ronc0011
              Well, that's what I'm here for; to learn.

              That brings up another question. Obviously I took the approach I did because I don't have the money at this point to be paying legal fees for things like having legal documents drawn up. I am currently working on article writing; using a program called XgenSEO. It has a feature called "Spin": basically you go through your article and with every word that offers the possibility you choose as many alternate words that mean the same thing and you enclose them in curly braces and the program will substitute different words for each submission, thus altering the article for each submission. By doing this you eliminate the chances of duplicate material. As I go through this process I have a thesaurus open in another browser finding and choosing alternate words. Obviously the article still says the same thing but is effectively rewritten. So here's an example:

              In no event will we be liable for any loss or damage including without limitation, indirect or consequential loss or damage, or any loss or damage whatsoever arising from loss of data or profits arising out of, or in connection with, the use of this website.


              This statement covers an issue that virtually every website on the web has to deal with. So virtually every website on the web has a similar statement. There are only so many ways you can say this. There are only 46 words in this statement. There are literally millions of website out there needing to make this same statement. I just don't see how you can make this statement millions of times, no matter how you spin it without running into duplication, or at least substantively duplicating the statement. After all, the declaration of the statement is the whole point and there are elements in the statement that have to be there. They have to be there in every website, all 156 million of them. There simply is no way you can spin that statement 156 million different ways. Even in the most wildly optimistic scenario 155 million of those websites are at risk of copyright infringement.
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              • Profile picture of the author Dan C. Rinnert
                Originally Posted by ronc0011 View Post

                That brings up another question. Obviously I took the approach I did because I don't have the money at this point to be paying legal fees for things like having legal documents drawn up. I am currently working on article writing; using a program called XgenSEO.
                You could afford XgenSEO, but you cannot afford proper legal forms for your business?
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  • Profile picture of the author secrets2010
    Originally Posted by Max Harlow View Post

    Hi Guys!

    Any advice for obtaining legal documents such as terms of use, privacy policy, ecommerce agreement, disclaimer, disclosure policy etc.

    How does one go about obtaining these for a new site? Please give me some tips this is the one thing that is holding me back in my business as an affiliate marketer as I don't want my site to pick up any legal scratches!

    Thanx for the help!
    When asking for legar advice here you should take into consideration that you will get answers from warriors, who are not lawyers, so those answers could be wrong...and could get you into some trouble...

    (well kindsvater is a lawyer and you can and should read every word of his posts)
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  • Profile picture of the author treezie
    Unless you do e-commerce (and even then), you can pretty much copy and paste a TOS from a site similar to yours. Look at the TOS and make the appropriate changes (such as names and additional terms). That is what lawyers do anyway, the lawyer I was talking to for drafting up my TOS said it's a piecemeal job for lawyers to put together a TOS, because they are all very generice...and we all know, no one reinvents the wheel.
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    Would this help?

    *EDIT - see under website proposal template in my signature. Not sure if this fits, but might be worth a look.

    *shrug
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeff Henshaw
    There is a search function on the forum which might help with you're enquiry.

    Meantime, have a look at my post #7 in this thread:-

    Copyright and Disclaimer info for Free Reports?

    Some of the links lead to sites that give out free documentation, but please read their terms of use.

    Best of luck,

    Jeff.
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  • Profile picture of the author Curt7
    There is a Worpress Policies plugin that makes all the policy pages you need, and puts the links in a footer. If you don't use Wordpress, you can make one WP blog, use the plugin to make your policy pages, and copy them to your site.
    WordPress › WP Policies « WordPress Plugins
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  • Profile picture of the author Caleb Spilchen
    Kindsvater's site is where I get them all.


    Internet Marketing Law Center - Membership

    Caleb
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    Caleb Spilchen

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