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Website terms and conditions (premium)

Price:  £35.00(Inc. 20% VAT)(£29.17 Exc. VAT)

This is the "premium" version of our website terms and conditions of use template. It is suitable for use on a wide range of websites.

The document is an extended version of our "standard" website terms and conditions template. In addition to the terms set out in that document, this document contains: more detailed user generated content provisions; an indemnity; a section about third party websites; provisions relating to trade marks; and provisions concerning prize competitions.

This template is not on its own sufficient for use on websites which collect personal information (which will also require a website privacy policy of some kind) or for ecommerce sites (i.e. those involving payment in relation to goods or services - which will also require legal provisions relating specifically to the goods or services that can be bought on the website).

  1. Introduction
  2. Copyright notice
  3. Licence to use website
  4. RSS feed
  5. Acceptable use
  6. Registration and accounts
  7. User IDs and passwords
  8. Cancellation and suspension of account
  9. Your content: licence
  10. Your content: rules
  11. Report abuse
  12. Limited warranties
  13. Limitations and exclusions of liability
  14. Indemnity
  15. Breaches of these terms and conditions
  16. Third party websites
  17. Trade marks
  18. Competitions
  19. Variation
  20. Assignment
  21. Severability
  22. Third party rights
  23. Entire agreement
  24. Law and jurisdiction
  25. Statutory and regulatory disclosures
  26. Our details

Document statistics

  • Total words: 6665
  • Total characters: 41714
  • Document pages (approx.): 10
  • Guidance notes pages (approx.): 10
  • Total pages (approx., including cover): 21
To what extent am I protected by the website terms and conditions in the event that someone posts something illegal on my site?

This is not an easy question to answer in a few paragraphs. However, I'll try.

The default position under English law is that a website owner is the publisher of all the material on his or her website, including users' posts and other user content. So, the website owner may be liable for defamation, copyright infringement, etc in respect of user content in the same way that a paper-and-ink publisher may be liable for the contents of its books and magazines.

Subject to the comments below, terms and conditions will not usually be able to affect the legal position - the nexus of legal rights and obligations - between a website owner and a third party who does not use the website. So, you cannot use your website T&Cs to simply exclude all liability in relation to user content. However, terms and conditions may (as our template does) include warranties and indemnities from users that in principle allow an operator to recover losses from a guilty user if there is a third party claim. In practice recovery may not be practicable, for example because the user is impecunious or inaccessible or the size of the loss does not justify a secondary claim.

The harshness of the basic liability principle is mitigated by special defences under the UK's Ecommerce Regulations (derived from the EU's Ecommerce Directive). These defences may protect a website operator who is acting merely as a host of illegal material from "pecuniary remedies" and "criminal sanctions".

There are restrictions on the availability of the defence. Notably, the hosting defence is however only be available where the person who posts the illegal content is not acting under the authority of the website owner. Accordingly, website terms should make it clear that users are not authorised to post problematic content. So, another way that website terms and conditions can help is by facilitating a defence under the Ecommerce Regulations.

In relation to libel, they may also facilitate a defence under Section 1 of the Defamation Act 1996.

So, in summary, there are three broad ways that properly drafted website terms of use may help. They may:
  • discourage users from posting unlawful content in the first place
  • give operators a possibility of claiming losses arising out of a third party claim from the user who posted the unlawful content
  • facilitate defences under the Ecommerce Regulations and Defamation Act
Disclaimer: this is a very brief account of a complex subject, and should not be relied upon in place of proper research and where appropriate professional advice. The extent to which any particular set of terms and conditions will give these protections to any particular website will depend very much on the particular circumstances.

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