Do I need the terms and conditions if I created my site with Wix, GoDaddy, or similar companies?

Giselle Ayala Mateus, Esq.

We have discussed before the importance of having terms of use for your website. It is basically a tool to limit liability. However, terms are conditions are not currently obligatory in the United States. That said, it is important to understand that once you publish your website with the help of other companies or hosts, such as Wix or GoDaddy, you are bound by the terms and conditions. Have you read them? Well, probably you should.

These websites’ terms and conditions contain provisions about the use of offensive or unlawful content, copyright infringement, trademark infringement, domain disputes, and takedown policies, among others. Even though you are not required to have your own terms and conditions, by having them, you will have the standing to take action if a user acts unlawfully or contrary to your own policies. Additionally, having terms and conditions shows that you have made efforts to comply with the terms of the website that hosts your webpage.

Finally, keep in mind that websites that have no terms and no policies to deal with the unlawful conduct of users, for example, websites where content is generated by users, not only by the website owner, are at risk of being blocked or shut down if a controversy arises or of the website host receives a demand letter.

Can I copy the terms and conditions of another website?

It is better if you take the time to create terms that fit the characteristics of your website instead of copying the terms of another. First, when you copy another page’s terms, you take the risk of publishing terms that are inconsistent with the operation of your own site. If the terms of a website are inconsistent, they will lose validity and result unenforceable. Second, by copying another’s terms, you may be acting unlawfully; in particular, this conduct could be identified as copyright infringement, especially if you copy the terms of a unique website. Finally, by drafting your terms or hiring an expert to do it for you, you will be certain that they are tailored for your website’s operation and the kinds of audience you expect to receive.

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