Legal Policies for Your Website

INxSQL does not provide legal advice and highly recommends that any policies you create for your website are reviewed by your legal team.
INxSQL is not responsible for the content of the links below or the web policies you choose to post on your website.

1. Privacy Policy

Your privacy policy is a tool that helps you build trust with your website visitors. It tells your customers exactly what personal information you collect from them and what you do with it. It’s one of those elements required by law.

There are two major reasons why your site needs a privacy policy. First, federal law and in some cases state law, governs the manner in which you interact with your website visitors. The second reason your site needs a privacy policy – and this reason may be more important than the first – is that privacy policies help you build trust with your potential customers. When you tell your visitors what information you collect from them and how you use it, it gives them confidence that your site is a safe and trustworthy place to play, share, and buy.

The contents of your privacy policy depends on the particular laws in question and, to some extent, the nature of your website. A privacy policy usually contains:

  • An explanation of the information you collect and what it is used for;
  • How people can access and change any information previously collected and/or opt out of mailing lists;
  • How you will notify visitors of changes in your privacy policy;
  • A statement about age restrictions — this one is very important and usually involves restricting the site to individuals who are either 13 and older or 18 and older;
  • A statement about any "do not track" signals used; and,
  • A statement about how you share any information you collect. Note: If you use email marketing software or payment software from a third party, then you do share your customer’s information with a third party. A trusted third party is still a third party, so be sure to say so in your privacy policy.

2. Terms and Conditions

Terms and conditions are a contract you make with the visitors to your site. They set out the behaviors you expect from your visitors as well as what your visitors can expect from you.

Solidly drafted terms and conditions can limit your overall legal liability, protect your valuable intellectual property, and help you collect payments on time. Without terms and conditions, any disputes arising from the use of, or purchases from, your site will likely be more messy and expensive. The contents of your terms and conditions are dictated by your particular business.

Terms and conditions usually contain:

  • How purchases are processed, typical sales terms and conditions;
  • Your shipping policy;
  • Limitations on warranty and damages;
  • Your right to refuse service, including when and how you can exercise it;
  • How changes in your terms will be communicated;
  • Where and how disputes will be handled;
  • Intellectual property policy, including how yours can and cannot be used and how you may use the intellectual property visitors post on your site; and,
  • Disclaimers, if you give advice in certain pages like specs or technical data, use of products, etc., including disclosures about any licenses you hold, or do not hold, within your industry.

3. Refund Policy

Refunds are typically just a part of business. So, it’s good to have a crystal clear policy that is conspicuous to your visitors. Don’t want to offer refunds? That’s totally fine unless you live in a place where it is mandatory. Check the laws for your state. The important part is that you are clear about your refund policy. It will help protect you from headaches and potential legal issues.

The most important thing is to make your policy as detailed as necessary for your industry and business. If you don’t accept refunds at all, again, make it very clear. If you do accept them, you’ll want to consider including at least these details in your policy:

  • Are there time limitations on returns?
  • What condition does the product need to be in for a return to be accepted?
  • Who pays for the return shipping (if applicable)?
  • What if items are damaged or arrive not as expected?
  • How long does it take you to process a return?
  • If a return is accepted, when and how can the customer expect to get his or her money back?

Your copyright notice makes your visitors aware that your content is legally yours and they do not have the right to use it without your permission.

A copyright notice, though not required, is a good way to deter visitors from borrowing your material. In fact, having a copyright notice and a general "how you may or may not use my material" policy conspicuously posted on your site will save you a lot of time, money, and heartache in the long run. The copyright notice itself usually contains:

  • Copyright symbol ©;
  • Year you created your website; and,
  • Name of the copyright holder — likely, you or your business.

In addition to this, if you want to grant permission for people to use certain aspects of your material, you should state that very clearly. Just remember it’s important to be equally as clear about what’s allowed as what’s not allowed. Also, if you want to let people use certain parts of your material, make it clear that you still maintain ownership over it at all times.

5. Terms of Use Policy

The primary purpose of a terms of use policy is to limit or attempt to limit the liabilities that a website owner or publisher may suffer arising out of the website. Examples of the kinds of liability that publishers must contend with include libel/defamation, copyright infringement, and breach of privacy. Most legal systems strictly control the effects of limitations and exclusions of liability. For this reason you should seek legal advice when drafting your terms of use policy.

Many websites include these basic elements in their terms of use policy:

  • Limitations of Liability — This is a disclaimer that states you can’t be held responsible for any errors in the content on your website. It often also addresses third-party liabilities. Be clear about your responsibilities and where you can’t be held accountable.
  • No Warranties — This is a statement that the information on your website is provided as is without any representations or warranties, express or implied in relation to the content of your site and the availability of your site.
  • Exceptions — This statement is a disclaimer that will exclude or limit any warranty implied by law that would be unlawful to exclude.
  • Governing Law — Which law is governing your terms of use? This part is crucial and extremely easy. Just state the city, state and country your business is based in, and you’re done.
  • Permitted Use — Don’t want browsers repurposing your logo for their own intentions? You might want to establish rules highlighting whether or not users are permitted to access and use content from your site (i.e., written text, graphics, data, images, logos, video clips, etc.). In this section, businesses often set restrictions on copying and reproducing content from their websites.
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