Why You Need Policies
- Show legitimacy to your website visitors
- Protect your intellectual property
- Limit your liability
- Keep control of your website
- Avoid litigation and fines
Currently, the following laws are in effect requiring Privacy Policies for most websites:
- General Data Protection Regulation (European Union)
- California Online Privacy Protection Act of 2003
- California Privacy Protection Act
- Nevada Privacy Law – SB 220
Why do I need Terms of Service?
Terms of Service is a great way to answer frequently asked customer and visitor questions, and protect yourself from liability.
Terms of Service (TOS) provides the following:
- If you sell products and services, a TOS provides information on refunds, order cancellations and returns. This will help answer customer questions and will help take them further down the path to actually buying from you;
- It will protect your intellectual property by making sure that everyone who accesses your website knows that your logo, name, and content are yours; and
- If you have links to third party websites on your website (e.g. social media links), a TOS will help protect you from liability in the event that the user gets a virus or malware from that third party website.
Do I need a Disclaimer?
You need a Disclaimer statement if you do any of the following on your website:
- Display advertisements;
- Display or sell health products (e.g. vitamins and supplements);
- Participate in affiliate programs (e.g. Amazon Affiliates);
- Provide health and fitness advice or tips; or
- Provide any information that could be seen as legal advice.
If you do any of the above, a Disclaimer statement will help you to provide required disclosures, allow you to participate in affiliate programs (some programs will require you to have a Disclaimer to participate), and will reduce your liability in case something goes wrong.
Do I need an End User License Agreement (EULA)
You need an End User License Agreement (EULA) if you are licensing software that a user can download. An End User Licence Agreement will help you with the following:
- Limit your liability in case a user gets a virus or is otherwise injured by using your software;
- Help protect your income stream by making it clear that the software license may not be shared with others; and
- Protect your intellectual property by making sure that the user knows that he or she is now allowed to reverse engineer or otherwise copy your software.
Can I write these policies myself?
While technically you can write these policies yourself, we do not recommend that you attempt to do so. There are a lot of laws, cases and legal opinions on how to write these policies correctly in order to provide the best protection.
If you are not a lawyer, and have not spent years studying law and cases, it is likely that the policy you would write yourself will be incomplete, incorrect and non-compliant.
Can I have my attorney write these policies for me?
If you already have a data privacy attorney already on staff, you can definitely have him or her write these policies for you, and monitor for new laws and changes.
Isn't my business too small for anyone to care about this?
Some of the laws already in effect and being proposed do not limit enforcement and liability to large companies only, so your small business could easily be liable as well.
Also, consumers do not distinguish between small and large businesses when it comes to protecting their privacy, and are unlikely to buy from companies who do not respect their privacy.
Sad to say but there are also unscrupulous individuals and law firms who make their living trolling businesses and websites, and filing lawsuits against violators. Often these lawsuits are settled out of court, but that’s a lot of time and expense for you, and an unnecessary distraction from your business.
Why is the Termageddon service a recurring fee?
Termageddon charges a yearly for its service because it automatically updates your policies whenever the law changes.
Within the next year alone, there are two new privacy laws that are going into effect – California and Nevada. Also there are about a dozen states currently considering new privacy laws, not to mention GDPR from the European Union.
Can't I just use a free (or paid) template?
However, when you use a template, you can’t be sure who wrote it, when it was written, whether it is correct, or whether it is even compliant with current legal requirements.
Also, a template like that doesn’t automatically update, and no one is going to be notifying you with the changes in the law that are happening. It will be up to you to keep track of all the changing laws, which I’m going to guess is something you don’t have time for or any desire to do.
How do I know if I'm collecting personal information on my website?
If you have a simple Contact form that asks for the user’s name, email, or phone number, then your website is collecting personal information.
Also, if you have an opt-in form where you ask for the user’s email address in order to send them an email newsletter, your website is collecting personal information.
The laws that are currently in place (California, Nevada, European Union) are intended to protect the citizens and residents of those states who are visiting and using websites, no matter where those websites or the businesses that operate them are located.
This means that under the laws of California, Nevada, the EU, and soon probably others, citizens and residents of those places will be able to take legal action against businesses and websites located anywhere.
Whether a law can be held to apply to you if you do not live or have a physical presence in the place where it is the law, just because someone in that place visits your website and gives you information about themselves, is somewhat controversial.