This publication provides a detailed information on how to draft the terms and conditions of website usage.
The operator of the website is required to provide to the users of the website the terms and conditions in a way that allows their storage and reproduction.
As an introduction to the terms and conditions of use, operators are recommended to advise users to read the terms and conditions carefully and in case of questions, they are advised to contact the operator of the website. Also, if the user does not agree to any of the terms contained in the terms and conditions, the use of the website is not recommended.
Definitions. Objectives and scope of the terms and conditions
Operators are advised to describe the objectives and the scope of the terms and conditions and also to define some of the terms that will be used in the terms and conditions of website usage.
Providing of information regarding the operator of the website
The operator of the website shall provide information that generally identifies the operator. This obligation is enshrined in Article 4 of the Electronic Commerce Act and includes an obligation to provide information about:
- the name of the operator of the website;
- permanent address or registered office and address of management;
- the address in which the operator carries out its activity if it is different from the address mentioned in the previous point;
- correspondence data, including telephone and e-mail address;
- data for entry in a commercial or other public register;
- information on the body exercising control over its activities when such activity is subject to a notification, registration or licensing regime;
- in the case of a regulated profession, information about the Chamber, the trade union or organization to which the operator is affiliated or registered, the professional title and the country in which it is provided, as well as a reference to the applicable provisions on the right to exercise the trade or the profession and instructions for access to them;
- an indication if the operator is registered under the Value Added Tax Act;
- other information provided in a legal act.
In addition to the above information, in the case of a proposal to users to conclude a contract by electronic means, the operator is obliged to inform the recipient of the service in a clear, comprehensible and unambiguous manner about:
- the technical steps to conclude the contract and their legal significance;
- whether the contract will be stored by the operator and how it is accessed;
- the technical means of identifying and correcting errors in the input of information before the contract is made;
- the languages in which the contract may be concluded;
- the way to electronically access a code of conduct that the operator adheres to.
It is important to note that if a party to the contract is a consumer (a consumer is any natural person who acquires goods or uses services not intended to engage in commercial or professional activity, and any individual acting outside within the framework of its commercial or professional activity), the operator of the website should also provide additional information under Article 47 of the Consumer Protection Act.
Characteristics of the website
This part of the Terms and Conditions provides information about the purpose of the website, as well as what kind of services the operator provides to the users of the website.
Some websites have the option of profile registration. In this case, the procedure for registration of a profile shall be described in the Terms and Conditions.
Rights, obligations and liability of consumers
It is recommended that the Terms and Conditions contain a section that specifies the rights and obligations of the users of the website.
Rights and obligations of the website operator
As well as mentioning the rights and obligations of the users of the website, it is also advisable the rights and obligations of the operator of the website to be defined.
The operator is advised also to include provisions on the liability of the operator, as well as information about third party sitelinks in the website terms and conditions of use.
The complete Terms and Conditions for use of a website should contain a clause that relieves the operator of the website of full or partial failure to perform an obligation, including a delay in delivery in the event of a force majeure.
Intellectual property rights. Restrictions on use
Websites usually contain texts, logos, pictures, images, illustrations, graphics. Therefore, it is extremely important to determine what rights on each part of the website belong to the operator of the website, how users can use the content of the site (for example, they may be allowed to use the content for personal, non-commercial use) and respectively for what purpose the content of the site cannot be used (for example, it may be mentioned that the use of the information contained on the website for commercial purposes, in whatever form, is absolutely prohibited), which actions of users constitute an infringement of intellectual property rights and what are the consequences if an infringement has been committed.
Links to third party websites
Most websites contain links to third-party websites. In this part of the terms and conditions, it is important to be mentioned that all third party websites accessible through the website are independent and the operator assumes no responsibility for damages and losses incurred by Users as a result of the use of these websites. Also the operator is not responsible for the content on the third party websites, and also for the presence of viruses, other harmful components on these websites.
Most websites offer the opportunity to include the User’s e-mail address in a list with e-mail addresses, where the user subscribes to receive a newsletter over a certain period of time. A clause can be included in the Terms and Conditions which provides information on the procedure for newsletter subscription as well as how to unsubscribe from receiving of newsletters.
Protection of personal data
Cookies are small text files that are sent from web sites to the computer or user’s device and are stored in the browser’s file directory that the user uses. They collect information about how the site is used to identify the user and improve the performance of the website. Very often the cookies policy is contained in the website terms and conditions of use. However, we also recommend that the cookies policy should be described in a separate document and this topic will be discussed in detail in one of the following articles.
Finally, the operators are advised to include, at the end of the website terms and conditions of use, what shall be the applicable law. It is also worth mentioning that the operator has the right to modify and update the terms and conditions at any time in the future when the circumstances impose.
Due to the many peculiarities that should be taken into account when drafting of website terms and conditions of use, it is advisable to seek assistance from a specialist with experience in this matter. The intellectual property specialist in Bulgaria Krasimira Kadieva will gladly assist you in drafting of the website terms and conditions of use due to the fact that she has successfully in her practice drafted website terms and conditions of use, privacy policies, cookies policies in Bulgarian and English languages.
Among the clients who have received legal expertise in Internet law and E-commerce over the past few years are both service providers, software developers, digital agencies, graphic designers, e-shops, construction companies, pharmaceutical companies as well as small companies that are just starting their business on the Internet.
Legal Disclaimer: This material prepared by Krasimira Kadieva aims to provide information about website terms and conditions of use. It does not constitute a legal opinion and cannot be interpreted as an individual consultation on any concrete facts or circumstances. The advice of a legal specialist should be obtained for specific questions and situations. For more information on the above mentioned issues and individual consultations, please contact Krasimira Kadieva at 00359 882 308 670 or make an inquiry using the contact form of this website. Krasimira Kadieva is a Bulgarian and European trademark and design attorney. She can assist in drafting of website terms and conditions of use, privacy policies, cookies policies in Bulgarian and English languages.