Disclaimer

I’m not a lawyer and I am in no way trying to represent myself in any legal capacity or offer you legal advice. I’m posting from personal experience after years of experience drafting legal documents for both print and the web.

What you need

The documents and disclaimers you need depend on what you are doing on the internet. An eCommerce website needs a refund policy, if you are giving dog grooming tips you don’t.

Most people don’t even consider legal requirements when they want a website. Before the Privacy Policy, there was the Terms & Conditions. In most cases this was the standard “Don’t post copyrighted material or defamatory remarks, and don’t share software“.. generally telling the visitors what they may and may not do. Now it’s the Privacy Policy where you explain to visitors what you do and do not do with information obtained about them and their visit to your website. Generally, both types of documents are necessary to cover all bases.

Cookie Policy

This is a requirement for websites hosted in or targeting the EU where it must be made immediately obvious and have confirmation of agreement by all visitors to the website. For Canada and the US, it can be a statement within the Privacy Policy which is always accessible either through the main menu or in the footer area. Check your country or local laws regarding cookie policy requirements.

Privacy Policy

This is a MUST HAVE document. It gives the website owner legal obligation to act in accordance with the posted policies and procedures and the visitor recourse if those policies and procedures are not followed. Different search engines have stated their preferences or requirements for a privacy policy over the years but most still show listings of websites or web pages without any policies. Regardless, you should consider it a requirement of any website.

Copyright

Copyright is automatic in most countries without official registration and most search engines are fanatical about not storing duplicate content. Websites like plagiarismdetector.net make it easy to detect duplicate content and Google’s crawler detects it on the fly as it crawls your website.

A copyright statement should be posted in the footer of every page of your website. The standard format being

Copyright © 2021 by Author's Name, all rights reserved.

Terms & Conditions

A Terms & Conditions policy should be used wherever visitors to the website have the opportunity to post content, relay messages, upload files or otherwise interact with the website or relay content through it. A Disclaimer of Liability should be posted on websites of this nature. This includes websites like Cyberwip where users are allowed to post comments.

Other Legal Documents

Depending on the nature of your website you may need any of the following documents:

  • GDPR Notices – Cookies Policy
  • Copyrights and Trademarks notices
  • A Disclaimer of Liability
  • EULA – End User License agreement
  • A Privacy Policy *
  • Returns and Refund Policy
  • SLA – Service Level Agreement
  • Terms and Conditions
  • Warranty Policy
  • Cancellation or Termination of Service Policy
  • .. or more

References

A good reference on drafting legal documents can be found at The National Archives – Federal Register – Drafting Legal Documents.

A good place to start is with the sample Privacy Policy and the Privacy Policy Guidelines provided with the default WordPress installation.

An excellent and up-to-date resource for Privacy Policy Guidelines can be found at termsfeed.com – Sample Privacy Policy Template

Ben Nadel also hosts a very good TOS and Privacy Policy generator that can be found at Ben Nadel – Privacy Policy / Terms Of Service Generator.

For Cyberwip, I am writing a Privacy Policy, Cookie Policy and a Terms of Service (Terms of Use) Policy. I will jump back here with links to the completed documents as they are done.

Note: Since these are Legal Documents requiring very specific statements it’s very unlikely that Google or anyone else will cite you for duplicate content unless the document is a verbatim copy of someone else’s work.

Again, these are just samples, check with a local lawyer or other legal authority to ensure that your documents meet any legal requirements.

Progress

These documents are difficult to write so it’s a little slow going, even using the same templates I have been working off for years.

Cookies Policy

I started this and tried to make something people could understand. In doing so, it got a little long but I like it, so I’m making it a separate page (so I can focus on Privacy issues in my Privacy Policy). You can see it here => [Cookie Policy]

Cookies, are for kids!

Privacy Policy

As a second step in fulfilling my legal obligations I have completed a detailed Privacy Policy for cyberwip.com. This includes the clause required by Google for the use of the invisible reCAPTCHA service. You can see it here => Privacy Policy.

Privacy Policies are for everyone from anywhere!

Terms of Use

At last, I think I have fulfilled my legal obligations by adding a Terms of Use Policy. Took all day and I borrowed a lot of ideas from different websites but I did author all content and it is specific to cyberwip.com. You can see it here => Terms of Use.

Terms of Use are for people that may not know how to behave in a public forum!

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