How to draft terms of service online
What do Facebook, Microsoft and Pinterest get right, and wrong? Michael Kasdan and Charles R Macedo explain
For social media companies, internet companies, and others that have an interactive web presence, drafting effective terms of service is not a mere formality. Controversies with sites such as Pinterest, Dropbox and Facebook have illustrated the dangers of getting the terms, or the way they are communicated, wrong.
Crafting terms that are suited to a website's business requires the legal team to balance the necessary legal protections with both the businesses objectives and customer expectations. And while website providers are often tempted to look to existing agreements for boilerplate provisions, terms of service should not blindly pull provisions used by others. The terms that govern the relationship between a business and its users are necessarily fact-specific and depend on the relevant user base, how users are expected to interact with the website, and the relevant business model. One size cannot fit all....
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