OT: Terms of service

Guys,

Can anyone point me to an online resource that provides boiler plate terms of service for web apps?

If not, how can one gain TOS on a poor man’s budget? Is it legal to copy/modify another company’s terms of service? They don’t seem to be copyrighted, but somehow this just feels wrong.

Any insight you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Additionally, if the only way to get TOS is through a lawyer, any affordable lawyer recommendations that specialize in this sort of thing would be helpful.

Thanks!

Jake

Bump…just to see if anyone’s listening. I know some of you have had to deal with this… :wink:

Thanks,
Jake

I discussed this very topic with a lawyer that specializes in
copyright/trademark law a couple years ago. I may get the finer details
wrong here, but the gist of his answer was that Terms of Service are
considered legal forms, and are therefore NOT copywritable. However, I
can also tell you from personal experience that if you copy a much
larger competitors TOS nearly verbatim, and the boys in charge there are
ex-Microsoft people with trigger-happy lawsuit habits, you may get end
up paying your lawyer to argue with theirs until one of you gives up or
runs out of money. So, my recommendation is to copy TOS's from several
similar sites, and a few less similar, meld them together, reword key
sentences and paragraph structures, etc. Spend about two hours and make
it "look" like you're own work. It may save you a big headache down the
road.

Jake Cutter wrote:

Any insight you can provide would be greatly appreciated. Additionally, if
the only way to get TOS is through a lawyer, any affordable lawyer
recommendations that specialize in this sort of thing would be helpful.

Maybe I'm naive, but rather than first approach our TOS from a legal
standpoint, I thought about it in what I guess I'd call a moral light:
what did we actually want people to use our site for, and what did we
find objectionable? I think this made it a friendlier and more human
document. I then did read a few other TOS's from around the web to make
sure I didn't leave any gaping holes (though I well might have -- if
anyone checks it out and sees any, please let me know :slight_smile:

This is what I ended up with:
<a href="http://squirl.info/tos">http://squirl.info/tos</a>

I like your approach of giving it a more homey feel (and funny to boot).

I guess my biggest concern is exposing myself to risk of litigation from people who simply have nothing better to do. I’ll be releasing my application soon…a first for me, so just trying to cross all t’s and dot all i’s. While it’s nothing that could cause bodily harm if it feels, one could stretch to say that if it presented information improperly due to a bug, it could impact your work life and thus cause you harm (a big stretch). In this case, I want to make sure I’m covered.

I wonder if
“MyCompany is in no way responsible for anything contained at the web site XYZ.com, or for your use of anything contained at the web site XYZ.com
would cover it?

Jake

Guys,

Thanks very much for the useful feedback. It helped tremendously!

Jake