The time has come for you to launch your online business. Your website or app looks great, but you still don’t have one essential component: a terms and conditions agreement.
At this point, you may be tempted to copy and paste someone else’s terms and conditions. Although it’s faster and cheaper to get your legal policies this way than through an attorney, the convenience isn’t worth the risks.
This guide will answer the question “Can I copy terms and conditions?” with three reasons you shouldn’t, and give you tips on how to create your own terms and conditions.
Can I Copy Terms and Conditions?
Copying terms and conditions is a legal risk, and will ultimately do more harm than good for your business.
Not only is it illegal to copy someone’s terms and conditions (as a form of copyright infringement), but you also run the risk of copying a policy that isn’t properly tailored to your business or website.
Here are the three major reasons you shouldn’t copy someone else’s terms and conditions:
1. You’ll Be Vulnerable to Lawsuits
Terms and conditions form a legal contract between your website or mobile app and its users. In order to adequately protect your business from legal challenges, your terms and conditions need to be specific to your activities.
If you copy someone’s legal policies, they won’t be tailored to your business, so they’ll likely have significant gaps in coverage that reduce or eliminate the legal protection terms and conditions should give you.
If legal disputes arise, such as a lawsuit between your site and a user, the terms and conditions you copied won’t make for a strong defense in court. One copied legal policy could mean thousands of dollars in legal fees and penalties.
2. You Could Be Fined for Copyright Infringement
Your competitors don’t have to look hard to find out that you stole their policies.
In the best-case scenario, you get a cease and desist from your competitor. If your industry is a small one, then word will get around that you’re stealing material from other companies. Your reputation will take a hit, and you will still need to come up with your own policies.
In the worst-case scenario, you end up in court for copyright infringement.
Avoid copyright violations by writing an original terms and conditions agreement for your business.
3. You Will Lose Customers
If users spot issues in your policies, such as references to a completely different company or a lack of site-specific information, you could end up losing customers.
While terms and conditions largely serve to protect your business, they also serve to protect your users. They outline the rules for your site, the conditions for using your site, and how users are permitted to interact with one another.
Users expect to have access to the rules of your website, and will quickly discover if these rules are ripped from another site.
Create Your Own Terms And Conditions
Instead of copying terms and conditions, take advantage of our free terms and conditions generator or terms and conditions template to create a customized terms and conditions agreement for your business.
While copying someone’s terms and conditions may save you some time and effort now, long-term consequences could be waiting just around the corner. The risk versus reward balance simply isn’t there, especially if you’re copying terms from your closest competitors.
Create your own terms and conditions for your business so you stay on the right side of the law, and leave your reputation in the clear with customers.