Do you need Terms of Use for your website?


Terms of use are added to a website to clearly outline the rules and regulations that a user/visitor must agree to and abide by while using your website. Once accepted, it forms a binding e-contract between the user and the website. Rule 4 of the Information Technology (Reasonable Security Practices and Procedures and Sensitive Personal Data or Information) Rules, 2011 makes it mandatory for website owners to provide a privacy policy and terms of use to disclose all information related to the usage of the data collected and the privacy protocols being used by them.

Terms of use may vary depending on a number of factors: such as the type of business you are operating or the nature of your website. It generally contains disclaimers regarding user activity, accounts, products, technology, refund policy, etc., and also permissions granted by the user for the usage of the collected data. This article enlists the key clauses that should be added to the terms of use.

Important clauses:

The terms of use should include the components that will help keep your website and business safe. Some of the clauses to be mentioned therein are stated below:

  • Acceptance of Terms – This section will prompt to the user that by using this website and/or any services provided therein, they are agreeing to adhere to all the terms and conditions set forth by the website owner by entering into a legally binding agreement.
  • License to Use – This section entails the extent of license to use the services of the website granted to the user.
  • Acceptable Use Policy – This section will list the prohibited uses of the website for the user/visitor. It may include: illegal purposes, harvesting data, harassing others using the website, using your website for users’ personal gain, etc.
  • User Accounts – This clause is mandatory in case your website allows users to create accounts to use the services of the website. It states that the user shall be responsible for ensuring that all data provided is accurate and true to their knowledge, and that they are responsible for not sharing their account information, such as their log-in ID and password.
  • Privacy – In this section you will add a link to your privacy policy. This policy states how the user’s information is being used and protected by the website. It helps to ascertain and clarify the liability of the website owner towards the information collected, stored and managed.
  • Ownership to Intellectual Property– This section will clearly outline that the website owner is the owner of all intellectual property rights available on the website. It states that the user/visitors to the website may not use any intellectual property of the website, in any way, without explicit permission of the website owner.
  • Cookies – If your website uses cookies, you need to have a section that details how they are used to store information. This section may also mention how users/visitors can decline these cookies i.e., by disabling them in the user’s browser settings.
  • Compliance – This section mentions the legality of the website. It also enlists all the specific criteria that the user/visitors are required to conforms to, for availing the services of the website.
  • Disclaimers – There are a variety of disclaimers you can use on your website and the website owner should make sure all of them are detailed in this section. This section should be carefully drafted to ensure there is limitation of liability of the website owner.


This document helps the website owner to give information/disclaimers to the users/visitors and thereby have a clear stance on their liability towards the information collected on the website. It is therefore advisable to consult with legal consultants while drawing up the terms of use for your website.

Disclaimer: The content of this article is intended to provide general guidance on the subject-matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

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