Startups that use a webpage or app to deliver services must ensure that their internet user agreements are up to date and compliant with relevant laws (such as the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR))

goodcounsel regularly furnishes its clients with the standard internet user agreements: the terms of use (also called the TOU, Terms of Service, or user agreement) and the privacy policy.

What are terms of use and privacy policies?

Though routine (and some would say, routinely ignored), the TOU is a binding legal agreement between the owner of a website and its users. The privacy policy focuses specifically on disclosures by a website owner of its practices regarding the personally identifiable information of its users. Every website that provides services to the public should have a properly drafted set of these agreements.

For companies that enable users to post content to the website, the terms of use should address the  Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). (Alternatively, some companies prefer to have a standalone DMCA policy.)

Why should you engage goodcounsel on your TOU and privacy policy?

We consult with founders to make sure that the terms of use and privacy policy adequately protect their business and accurately reflect the services or products they provide.

We maintain templates for these agreements, which we update regularly to reflect changes in the law. goodcounsel attorneys are sensitive to the requirements of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) and the mandates of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). The basic language relating to these laws, as reflected in our standard templates, is typically all that is necessary for early-stage companies. For clients engaged in a substantial number of transactions with California-based users, we can provide more detailed languages or policies that might be required by the CCPA. For clients engaged in a substantial number of transactions with EU-based users, we can work with affiliated EU law firms to ensure GDPR compliance.

How much will this cost?

We can offer these agreements to our clients on a modified fixed-fee basis: the base documents (with minor adjustments) are included for a fixed price and any customizations needed to address particular client needs (such as GDPR compliance) are billed at our standard hourly rates. The result is that our clients receive a cleanly drafted set of online agreements, tailored to their needs, for a reasonable, predictable price. 

To enable our clients to take advantage of the “safe harbors” available under the DMCA, we can also register and serve as your DMCA agent for a low annual fee. As your DMCA agent, goodcounsel will receive any complaints filed against your website and forward them to you for action.

How long will this take?

Normal turnaround time for the terms of use or privacy policy is under two weeks. An accurate estimate of timing depends on factors including the extent of customization and your availability for communication and review.

Can I just do this myself?

You probably could, but it is a risky choice. Many entrepreneurs are do-it-yourself types, but smart entrepreneurs know when to entrust work like this to experts. By using a template from a TOU/PP-generator or copying the documents from another business’ website, you risk not being in compliance with applicable law and not addressing your specific business needs – in sum, not adequately protecting your business. 

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