13 June 2010
I was instructed by a business support agency to review and, if necessary, redraft the existing terms and conditions of a consultancy that offered accessibility audit reports, accessibility correction, accessibility monitoring, search engine optimization and web design. I was provided with pages from its website and examples of some its recent proposals to customers.
I found that the consultant’s terms and conditions were combined with its website access terms and the hypertext link to those terms was in a small font at the foot of the page.
I met the client in conference to find out exactly what he needed. I explained that website access terms and terms and conditions of service served different functions and should be kept separate. As he collected personal data I outlined the Data Protection Act 1998, the duty to notify the Information Commissioner and the advantage of setting out in writing the purposes for which such data are collected and held.
Every website is a copyright work. Visiting a site involves copying at least some of the work which can be done lawfully only with the licence of the copyright owner. Such licence can and should be granted on terms as to what material may or may not be downloaded from the site, whether visitors can link to its pages, how and where disputes are to be resolved and what law should apply. This can be very useful should a dispute ever arise.