The following are terms for websites that require subscription or membership to a community. The benefits of being a member might be access to information and services on the site, but equally could be offline.
Website terms: community sites
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These terms are for a website that curates and provides access to a member community.
Members may be businesses or consumers. A subscription fee may cover all, or some of the services that the website provides.
The document includes strong protection against malicious use of your site and posting of offensive or inappropriate content. It is suitable for international use (it follows UK law, much of which is likely to be enforceable in other legal jurisdictions as well).
Use these T&C for sites such as:
- introduction sites (such as dating sites)
- fan clubs and enthusiast sites
- support networks
- membership-based discussion boards and forums
- membership associations and organisations
These terms are for an organisation that offers a membership based service via a website.
Being a member is a requirement to control who may join and regulate behaviour online and offline. You may or may not charge members.
The document includes strong protection against malicious use of your site and posting of offensive or inappropriate content.
Use these T&C for sites such as:
- business related introduction and connection sites
- trade associations and organisations
- business support networks
- subscription based business discussion boards
Member businesses may be in the UK or abroad. The terms comply with UK law, but much is likely to be enforceable in many other legal jurisdictions as well.
Use this template for a club, society, charity, or other organisation that takes applications for membership and payment through its website, subject to approval.
Your website likely explains what you do, how you operate, and allows members to manage their membership online. Your site may also allow members to interact with each other through the site, for example, on message boards.
This template is also suitable for use by a business to promote a community around a brand or product.
You may additionally need a constitution for your organisation, which we provide separately.
Use this document for sites such as:
- sports clubs
- not-for-profit social introduction and connection sites.
- membership-based fan clubs and enthusiast clubs
- private discussion boards
We are happy to answer any questions you have. Arrange for us to call you.
If the document isn’t right for your circumstances for any reason, just tell us and we’ll refund you in full immediately.
We avoid legal terminology unless necessary. Plain English makes our documents easy to understand, easy to edit and more likely to be accepted.
You don’t need legal knowledge to use our documents. We explain what to edit and how in the guidance notes included at the end of the document.
Email us with questions about editing your document. Use our Lawyer Assist service if you’d like our legal team to check your document will do as you intend.
Our documents comply with the latest relevant law. Our lawyers regularly review how new law affects each document in our library.
Terms and conditions that will protect your business
These T&C will form the contract between your site and your members. Without them, it is much harder to protect your business if your visitors behave in a detrimental way.
What you will find in our documents
We provide an acceptable use policy, setting out what visitors can do on your site. We also include terms applicable to selling subscriptions.
No term appears in every template we sell. Each document has been drawn to be relevant to the business we intend to protect.
Use of plain English strengthens the document
Consistent use of plain English and minimal “legalese” throughout helps because:
- you can set out clearly how your business works and what your site users can expect
- it prevent misunderstandings and makes solving disputes easier
- it present a professional image of your business
- it helps ensure customers do not feel intimidated by overly formal or legalistic language
- it makes a document easy for you to edit
Extensive guidance to help you edit the template
With each document we include guidance notes that explain the meaning of, how to edit each paragraph. We expect that there will be parts of the document that might not suit your business model exactly because we know every business is different. We can, however, check your edits as part of our additional review service if you would like confirmation that they fit.
Restrictions on what your user may post to your website
Subscribers are likely to be able to interact with your website in some way, whether posting comments or uploading their own content. Having strong security terms in a T&C document is not going to stop crime, but it does:
- provide a deterrent to any misuse for which you could sue in court
- prevent you being blamed for criminal or nuisance activity
- reduce the chance of your being the subject of some bad social medium campaign - particularly important if your members can contribute content to your site that you might not moderate in real time
- present your site in a strong and purposeful way, giving out a message that you are not a “soft touch”
- assist in protecting you from civil or criminal charges for which you may otherwise be liable as a result of what someone else posts to your website
- provide permission for you to remove offensive content and generally stay in full control of what happens on your website
By using these provisions, we give you the best possible defence against anyone who claims he has been insulted, injured, or defamed.
Particular terms which are included where relevant
Provisions specifically for membership sites
Membership and subscription sites vary widely. You can use a subscription business model not only to sell goods or services but also to provide information or regulate a free service.
A key point in paid membership sites business models is how and when to obtain payment. You cannot unilaterally renew a contract. However, if you continue a course of action and your customer accepts or acquiesces, he cannot later complain if he has continued to enjoy the services. In reality many Internet contracts are continued from year to year. We cover this thoroughly of course.
The best way to deal with this issue is to provide a warning to a customer or member about four weeks before you take payment, with a copy of the invoice against which payment will be taken. You then take the payment on the due date and send a new message to your customer or member to confirm.
We provide disclaimers. They are not always binding because you can disclaim only so far as the law allows. If you overstep the mark, your disclaimer will be void.
Intellectual property protection
We provide the strongest protection for your IP rights, whether your business is “IP light” or involves complex software and systems.
Suitable for sites with international visitors
Our documents are written to cover international use because most websites are likely to attract visitors from across the world.
Every document is drawn under the law of England and Wales. Much is likely to be enforceable in many other legal jurisdictions as well.
Scotland and Northern Ireland have adopted the same law in the vast majority of cases, but we make no promises as to full compliance with Scottish law.
Your business model might include advertising revenue in some way. Our documents do not cover this because those arrangements are between you and your advertisers, rather than between you and your visitors. But we do include general terms intended to protect you from a claim by a site user in respect of anything he or she might claim against you.
Visitor data storage
We make sure your user does not expect you to keep his data indefinitely, or at all. We also cover you against any claim that you are in breach of any customer “right” covering his data.
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