html tutorial, internet tutorials

  Lesson 15: Website Disclaimers, Terms and Privacy Policies  


In 2004, the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) in the USA started a massive attack on web businesses that had been lacking of the required legal documents on their webpages, such as disclaimers and privacy policies. Websites were shut down and the owners were charged high penalty fees.

Even if your website is only of a personal, non-commercial nature, you should have at least a short privacy policy, certain disclaimers and a short website terms of use, in order to protect yourself from lawsuits.

     Your Privacy Policy     

A privacy policy tells your website visitors what type of personal information you collect from them (if any) and how you intend to use it. Even if you do not collect any personal information such as email addresses and names, then you should at least say so. And when you have a contact form on your website, where people can enter their names and email addresses, tell them what will happen with their contact information.

If you publish an email newsletter, or have some kind of announcement list to which people can subscribe on your website, tell them what happens to their contact informations and what type of information you will send them.

Here´s a sample privacy policy that you may use and modify as you please.

Privacy Policy

You may give us personal information about you, such as your name, your contact email and other contact details on various places on our website. This privacy policy describes how we collect and use your personal information.

How and where we collect personal information:

- electronic newsletters
- discussion boards and forums
- chats and blogs
- customer registration
- etc ...

How we use your personal information:

The information you give us is absolute safe with us. We will never rent, sell, share or otherwise disclose your personal information to third parties. We might contact you from time to time regarding your purchases or the services (like forums and announcement lists) you have subscribed to.

We may also send you promotional announcements from time to time about new products and services that you might find useful.

You may also opt out from receiving information from us at any time and ask us to remove your contact information from our database.

     Legal Disclaimers     

Another very important part are the disclaimers. You must disclaim your liablilty for the action people take upon the information they read on your website. Tell your visitors that all the content on your website is for information purpose only and that you do not guarantee that this information is accurate and reliable, thus acting upon the information on your website is at everybody´s own risk.

You also must disclaim your liablity for the content that is linked from your site, or in other words: tell your visitors that you are not responsible for the content on all the other websites to which you link from your site.

Here´s a sample disclaimer for a personal, non-commercial website.


All the information on this website is published in good faith and for general information purpose only. We do not make any warranties about the completeness, reliability and accuracy of this information. Any action you take upon the information on our website is strictly at your own risk. and we will not be liable for any losses and damages in connection with the use of our website.

From our website, you can visit other websites by following hyperlinks to these sites. While we strive to provide only links to useful and ethical websites, we have no control over the content and nature of these sites and the links to other websites do not imply a recommendation for all the content found on these sites.

Please be also aware that when you leave our website, other sites may have different privacy policies and terms which are beyond our control.

Depending on the nature of your website / online business, you need to have even more disclaimers, such as an earnings disclaimer when you are selling products and services that are on the subject of helping people to earn money.

Anyway, if you have any kind of commercial website, no matter what you are selling, I highly recommend you don´t take any risks and get professionally written legal documents from someone who knows his stuff.

Introducing: AutoWebLaw Pro
The easiest way to protect your website and business. Bruce Safran, attorney and specialist in internet law, has put together all the legal documents you need:

Legal documents for websites ( disclaimers, privacy policies, different terms of use, affiliate agreements, ... )
Copyright documents
Newsletter disclaimers
Non-disclosure agreements
Purchase agreements and disclaimers
Trademark documents
Software development agreements
and more ...

These documents are packaged in a little software tool that helps you to find the right documents for your website / business by answering a few questions and then customizes these documents for you with your details. I highly recommend this tool if you have a commercial website.

     Website Terms of Use     

In the terms of use, you basically describe what people can do with the content on your website. You may tell your visitors that all the articles and graphics on your website are copyright protected and that they may only download one copy for their personal use.

Just in case you mention brand names and registered trademarks inside the text on your webpages, you should also state that all the trademarks are the property of their respective holders.

Of course, it depends on what you intend to do or sell on your website. You might need membership agreements, purchase agreements and a couple of other documents. Therefore, I recommend you get AutoWebLaw Pro which gives you all the legal documents you need for your website, written by an expert in internet laws.

Hint: I create all the legal documents of my websites in minutes with AutoWebLaw Pro. For example, at you can see an extensive version.

Now it´s time to look for a place to publish your website to the internet. The next lessons gives you valuable tips for choosing the right webhost for your site and compares some different types of hosting services.

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