- To give users notice about the website, such as its purpose, what it does and does not do;
- To provide information about the currency of the information on the site, and how often it is updated;
- To provide information (and disclaimers) so that the user cannot claim reliance on the website;
- To inform users as to the intended audience of the site, including the geographical audience, age and other demographics, and type of intended audience (consumer, professional, business);
- To convey limitation of liability provisions;
- To explain intellectual property issues, such as how the user may use the copyrighted material on the website, and if necessary, dealing with ownership or the right to use content submitted by the user;
- To provide the information required by privacy laws, such as a privacy collection and use statement.
By way of example:
• The website owner may have a difficult time proving that the particular user visited the website, and how many times. It may be possible to determine that a specific computer or device was used to access the site, but it may be impossible to tie this use to a particular person. It is difficult to prove that a contract exists if you cannot determine who the other party to the contract is.
• A court may be reluctant to enforce a contract with unreasonable or one-sided terms, or within an indemnity clause, against a user in these circumstances.
Where possible, website owners should make sure that they keep evidence of the date that the user agrees, and the version of the website terms as at that time. It is not unheard of where the website terms change, and the website does not keep the prior conditions, or cannot demonstrate whether any particular user agreed to the preceding or the current terms or both.
Please contact Robinson Nielsen Lawyers if you wish to talk further.