Terms of Service

What Is a Terms of Use Agreement?

A terms of use agreement defines rules for the use of a website. Sometimes referred to as “terms and conditions,” this document includes disclaimers and notices clarifying the limit of the website’s or business’s liability to the visitor. It also often displays other information about website ownership and copyright to help protect a website’s content. And it may contain a privacy policy explaining how you collect and use customer or visitor information. Because of the specific language and the diversity in the range of websites’ needs, these documents should be created with the help of legal experts for maximum legal protection.

Clickwrap vs. Browsewrap Terms of Use Agreements

Some sites present a pop-up or a landing page requiring visitors to agree to terms and conditions before proceeding, which is called a “clickwrap agreement.” It’s more common to find websites with a “browsewrap agreement.” With these, visitors are not prompted to view or to agree to anything but can access a terms of use page by browsing for a link if they so choose. In this case, a hyperlink or button is often buried at the bottom of a home page and remains unseen by most visitors.

One middle ground option for presentation is a subdued pop-up or banner with a notice that by continuing to use the site, a user agrees to the terms of use. These often contain a hyperlink to the page with the terms of use. Regardless of presentation, each type of agreement contains much of the same content. Either way, if website visitors don’t approve of the specific conditions set forth in the agreement, they are free to leave.