Online Policy Documents

AuthorDavid W. Tollen
Online Policy Documents
This appendix covers acceptable use policies (AUPs), Digital Millen-
nium Copyright Act (DMCA) policies, and privacy policies. Compa-
nies doing business online post these documents on their websites to
explain their rules and procedures.
AUPs, DMCA policies, and privacy policies aren’t exactly con-
tract clauses. They’re just statements: information for customers and
other users. Still, some online policy documents work like contract
clauses. When customers buy products and services online, they
often rely on AUPs and privacy policies, and that can make those
policies binding on the vendor. Also, some online agreements require
that customers comply with certain policies, particularly AUPs, while
others fully incorporate all their policies into the contract, transform-
ing them into contract clauses binding on both parties. However this
incorporation issue plays out, vendors limit legal risk if they obey all
their own online policies.
As you’ll see, each policy in the following clause boxes includes
a “Date Posted” or “Effective Date.” You should include these dates
in all your online policies. They help customers determine whether
the policy has changed since they last reviewed it (assuming they
Acceptable Use Policies
AUPs outline user behavior that won’t be tolerated. They’re most
useful for services that enable online communication. Internet
service vendors, for instance, should consider AUPs. So should

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