Website Contracts – Does Anyone Care?

03 November 2010 Internet, IT & e-Discovery Blog Blog
Authors: Peter Vogel

Let’s see a show of hands- do you read Terms of Service? Privacy Policies? Or Click Agreements? I routinely ask audiences this question and rarely do I ever get any hands raised. My recent Technology Law column in eCommerce Times entitled “Who Reads Terms of Service, Privacy Policies or Click Agreements?” identifies many legal issues concerning website contracts. Every fall since 2000 I’ve taught a course on theLaw of eCommerce at the SMU Dedman School of Law and every fall I find that virtually none of my students have ever considered reviewing Terms of Service, Privacy Policies, or Click Agreements. But by the end of the semester they routinely review these contract terms. I was pleased to see a former student from 2004 recently who told me that he regularly reviews these contract provisions. The irony of not reviewing these contract provisions is that people have no idea what legal rights and privacy they may be giving up.

FTC and Privacy

TheFederal Trade Commission regulates privacy in the US and if a website does not have a Privacy Policy that’s okay but if there is a Privacy Policy the website must follow its promises to website visitors. Since so few people review Terms of Use, Privacy Policies, and Click Agreements the FTC is considering making changes to US privacy laws particularly regarding the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act. However in the meantime until the US privacy laws are changed, websites have pretty much a free hand since no seems care.

This blog is made available by Foley & Lardner LLP (“Foley” or “the Firm”) for informational purposes only. It is not meant to convey the Firm’s legal position on behalf of any client, nor is it intended to convey specific legal advice. Any opinions expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Foley & Lardner LLP, its partners, or its clients. Accordingly, do not act upon this information without seeking counsel from a licensed attorney. This blog is not intended to create, and receipt of it does not constitute, an attorney-client relationship. Communicating with Foley through this website by email, blog post, or otherwise, does not create an attorney-client relationship for any legal matter. Therefore, any communication or material you transmit to Foley through this blog, whether by email, blog post or any other manner, will not be treated as confidential or proprietary. The information on this blog is published “AS IS” and is not guaranteed to be complete, accurate, and or up-to-date. Foley makes no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, as to the operation or content of the site. Foley expressly disclaims all other guarantees, warranties, conditions and representations of any kind, either express or implied, whether arising under any statute, law, commercial use or otherwise, including implied warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Foley or any of its partners, officers, employees, agents or affiliates be liable, directly or indirectly, under any theory of law (contract, tort, negligence or otherwise), to you or anyone else, for any claims, losses or damages, direct, indirect special, incidental, punitive or consequential, resulting from or occasioned by the creation, use of or reliance on this site (including information and other content) or any third party websites or the information, resources or material accessed through any such websites. In some jurisdictions, the contents of this blog may be considered Attorney Advertising. If applicable, please note that prior results do not guarantee a similar outcome. Photographs are for dramatization purposes only and may include models. Likenesses do not necessarily imply current client, partnership or employee status.

Authors

Related Services