Legal Documents About Website Policy In Australia

February 29, 2012 · Posted in Internet · Comment 

In simple terms, a website’s privacy policy sets out what details the website provider will acquire from users, and what they can do with the information. It is an essential area of complying with the Privacy Act 1988 (Cth) ‘privacy principles’ (section 14) which pertains to those businesses situated in Australia. It is very important to advise users if you are obtaining credit card details whenever they buy goods or services on your site, or if you need users to subscribe and they provide personal information for example on social networking sites. Even if your website is simply presenting information, a privacy policy is crucial as details about the accessing computer is gathered by all servers.

Privacy policies are certainly not one size fits all; consider the privacy policy of Facebook in comparison with the privacy policy of say ebay, simply copying and pasting from one to the other will be ridiculous and it is the same for any other website. Enforceability: The most important section of website terms and conditions and privacy policies is that they should be enforceable. Think of the terms as an online contract which once recognized by a user is binding on both them and you. As was the case for DealsDirect terms which offend the law, in that case the Trade Practices Act, will not be appropriate or enforceable. This leads to bias for customers and importantly for vendors who will base their business around the terms and conditions customers have opted for.

It must be noted that the situation of Trumpet Software Pty Ltd v OzEmail Pty Ltd (1996) 34 IPR 481 calls into question the exact nature of the relationship between website users and website providers. In Trumpet the court held that any online agreement which does not see consideration (something valuable) pass involving the two parties won’t be a contract, simply directing to a webpage won’t create a contractual or license arrangement. So online vendors should not have enforceability complications with their terms and conditions as a submission of payment is an acceptance of your terms for consideration by a customer.

However it appears as if in ‘click-wrap’ agreements, in which a user must click to take the terms and conditions of a site, will be contractual in Australia given that we follow American decisions on the matter: Specht and Ors. V Netscape Communications and America Online (United States District Court, New York, 3 July 2001). This means for some websites which do not need consideration or express agreement (clicking) by users the question of enforceability continues to be open. It is therefore preferable to be safe than sorry and have your terms and conditions drafted by lawyers to prevent problems in the future.

Finally, it is essential to state which country’s laws apply to your website’s terms and conditions because this is where any legal enforcement of a user or provider’s rights will occur. It is clear that website terms and conditions are not so simple as their humble place, hidden in the footnotes of websites would suggest. They are extremely essential for any website or online business, particularly sellers. It is therefore essential that you get them right, do not copy and paste. Professional drafting may seem like a large outlay of capital, however provided your business model doesn’t dramatically change the terms and conditions made by a lawyer will last you the life of your website. Bear in mind one size does not fit all.

Complete your website’s Online Privacy Policy originally. Inveiss will help you with Online Privacy Policy processes.