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Andy Brice
Successful Software

Doug Nebeker ("Doug")

Jonathan Matthews
Creator of DeepTrawl, CloudTrawl, and LeapDoc

Nicholas Hebb
BreezeTree Software

Bob Walsh
host, Startup Success Podcast author of The Web Startup Success Guide and Micro-ISV: From Vision To Reality

Patrick McKenzie
Bingo Card Creator

Basic, default Terms and Conditions


I know legal stuff can get messy and I should consult with a lawyer, but is there a basic, generic terms and conditions and privacy policy I can use just to get started?

FYI, this would be for a web app.

Sandy Wilkins Send private email
Tuesday, July 01, 2014
The only ones openly intended for re-use tend to be for open source projects, however a Googly for "terms and conditions template" or 'generator" will give you plenty.

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
I recommend seeing a real attorney when you have real legal problems. Like you are being sued, you are about to sign an onerous non-compete, or you are trying to set up your company in order to minimize tax liability.

I don't recommend seeing a lawyer for a ToC drafting though. First, you need a real IP attorney for this stuff, not a family attorney, and the qualified IP guys can easily charge $500+ an hour.

What you really need to do is figure out why you want ToC at all and what you hope to accomplish with it.

Here's some good reasons to have a privacy policy:

1. Your credit card merchant account requires that your site have a privacy policy and that you follow it, whatever it is, strictly.

2. You are based in a country that legally requires that your site has a privacy policy and that you follow it.

3. You plan to violate the privacy of your users and need to CYA.

As far as ToC, your main ToC is to put a copyright notice on all your original material on your site.

Why do you need anything else?

Well if you allow users to upload hollywood movie length films and photos, you should have a ToS absolving you of responsibility for what they do. Of course this didn't help Megaupload at all, so it's kind of useless, but at least you put something out there.

If you don't allow users to contribute content, what is the purpose of having a ToS beyond a copyright notice? Figure that out first.
Scott Send private email
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Oops, ToC -> T&C
Scott Send private email
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
One reason to see an attorney is that you find yourself posting generic questions on web boards that no one can answer because you haven't given any information about what you are doing because you are paranoid someone will steal your idea. In this case, an attorney is best since they maintain attorney client privilege. Or so you hope. If they work for a company or VC firm they'll call all their buddies and disclose your plans 2 minutes after you finish talking to them. Private practice attorneys from reputable firms are a better choice than some attorney a VC friend set you up a free meeting with.
Scott Send private email
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
My web app is made for engineers, so I want to make sure that my app is just a reference and any calculations used in the real world shouldn't be taken from the app.

Just in case the building collapses because I missed a test case, I can say I told you so. :)
Sandy Wilkins Send private email
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
Ah, now I do think you need to see a lawyer.

So you're writing software intended for critical applications such as building, bridge, airplane, nuclear power plant design, surgery, etc, you are wide open for liability no matter what you put in your contract. If you get sued your only defense would be to show you had PEs on staff, and licensed subject experts who signed off on everything and used best practices. Otherwise it's malpractice, and you can not license malpractice liability away. There's a reason why software that deals with critical applications costs a fortune. Because they have dealt properly with all this.
Scott Send private email
Wednesday, July 02, 2014
A deserved +1 to Scott.

You don't need default T&C, you need specialist T&C

Reluctantlyregistered Send private email
Thursday, July 03, 2014
Funny how a seemingly flippant comment "Just in case the building collapses ..." can change everything.
Scorpio Send private email
Thursday, July 03, 2014

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