TOS Violations: Everything You Need to Know
TOS violations describe contract breaches by a single party. 3 min read
TOS violations describe contract breaches by a single party. For many, the internet is an easy place to get information and take advantage of certain conveniences in the form of online banking and shopping. Shopping websites allow us to find goods to buy and most banks have online banking systems that allow customers to keep track of their money. Other websites focus on social affairs in the form of Twitter and Facebook. Many people go to Youtube to search for various entertaining and informative videos to watch.
Other websites allow the selling of music via iTunes or MP3 storage. Online services have been around since the early days of the Internet and searching online has become a part of everyday life for many people. With that, you may have a feeling that you’re not doing something right when going online. Nearly all websites have a terms of service agreement, or TOS. The terms vary by website, but it comprises an agreement between the website and user regarding how users can take advantage of the website. It also establishes rules and boundaries that users must adhere to when using the website.
When visiting a website, you usually agree to the TOS by default when clicking the agree button. It also conveys certain rights that users have when accessing the site and how they can contact the property administrator in case something goes wrong.
In addition, it contains warranty protections and disclaimers, including vendor liability pertaining to damages or infringements when using a service. The primary aim is to safeguard vendors, and a TOS is a legally-binding contract that can be enforced in a court of law. It is only a legal contract if it abides by local and federal laws, and TOS authors have some leeway in drafting the contract. For instance, they are free to change the service terms at any point, but they must notify users within a reasonable time of the changes.
- Note: Websites only giving information or selling a product may not have a TOS.
ISPs and TOS
With that, internet service providers (ISPs) and all sites storing personal data are usually involved in social media, financial transactions, or online auctions. Court cases involving TOS violations are more common than you think. You should know your rights and obligations before using a website, and though reading the TOS may seem like a tedious process, the terms are easier to read than you think, and it generally does not take long to comprehend.
Also, you may automate the process by using ITAM tools in the form of Bindabox. This platform uses NLP to utilize license agreement by paring the TOS text and highlighting key aspects of the agreement. Certain classes within a TOS places obligation on the service provider, such as warranties or service levels. When it comes to service levels, the provider will issue some level of compensation if he or she cannot provide the service to the user.
A TOS is designed to foster transparency and rules for a website, but major problems can arise. For instance, TwitPic’s controversy surrounding its TOS, which caused the company to walk back from an aggressive TOS that stopped users from reselling pictures they uploaded to the platform, is an example of how you must read the TOS before uploading or using a website. The fact is that you have little recourse in court if you agree to the terms of service. This also happens when users fail to understand the TOS or never read and simply clicked the agree button.
- Note: Hitting the agree button comprises an official signature on your end, and you are bound to the terms of the agreement.
The following are essential traits that you’ll find in almost all TOS agreements:
- Legally Binding: In all TOS agreements, your agreement is an official acknowledgment of the TOS, and electronic signing makes your adherence to the TOS much more official. For instance, clicking the agree box comprises an official signature. In court, you must prove that the TOS contained unreasonable terms, or the agreement is not valid in some way.
- TOS and Copyright Law: When creating images, works or properties of any kind, you are the copyright owner.
To learn more about TOS violations, you can post your job on UpCounsel’s website. UpCounsel’s lawyers will provide more information if a user violates your terms and must seek legal recourse in court. In addition, they will assist users if they were taken advantage of by service providers.