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Website Legal Agreements - Most Sites are Doing it Wrong

Mar 5, 2013 7:18:40 PM

Website Legal Agreements come in lots of forms - Terms of Use, Service Agreements, Disclaimers...and many more. Nearly every website has some form of legal agreement - which means that most site owners, their developers, and their lawyers realize the importance of using the right website legal agreements.

The problem, though, is that most of them are most likely unenforceable. Not because of what they say (although that certainly could be the case), but rather because the website legal agreements are presented to the site user improperly. For example, burying a "Terms of Use" browsewrap agreement in the footer of a site might not make that type of website legal agreement enforceable. Additionally, a "User Agreement" that is purported to be accepted by clicking a button or checking a box may not be enforceable of the acceptance process is not constructed properly. The result of an unenforceable agreement is - well - a completely meaningless website legal agreement that has been reduced to nothing more than words on the internet.

So how do you fix this? Good question.

Generally, for a website legal agreement to be enforceable to a website's users, the following criteria should be adhered to:

  1. The website user must have adequate notice that the proposed website legal agreement exists.
  2. The website user must have a meaningful opportunity to review the website legal agreement.
  3. The website user must have adequate notice that taking some specified, optional action means that he/she has accepted the terms of the website legal agreement.
  4. The website user must actually take that action.

All of this can be accomplished in many ways. But for whatever reason, most sites are missing the mark. PactSafe intends to change that be creating the webs first application designed solely for implementing managing and tracking enforceable website legal agreements.

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As we work towards launching our application, we'll be posting more about the world of website legal agreements and how PactSafe intends to change it.

 

Brian Powers

Written by Brian Powers

PactSafe CEO & Founder