ToS Agreement: Everything You Need to Know
A ToS agreement, or terms of service agreement, is a set of rules and conditions that a provider attaches to an internet-delivered product or software service.3 min read
Elements of a Terms of Service Agreement
From the provider's perspective, no matter which platform or medium you use to connect with your clients, a ToS agreement can help you establish important rules and conditions that will ultimately protect your company. Common elements of a ToS agreement include:
- Intellectual property statements: Inform users that your website, logo, content, etc. are your property, and are protected by copyright laws. Explain the intellectual property rights of user-created content, and how users may share such content. Include the process to occur if a third party finds copyrighted material on your site (e.g. forums).
- Privacy policies: Explain how your service may use the information provided by users.
- Account information: Explain how users may disable their accounts, opt-out of email lists and other marketing channels, or change their account information.
- Community guidelines for content and sharing: Include your right to shut down an account if it sends abusive or spamming messages.
- Liability provisions: Include a warranty disclaimer that attempts to limit your website's liability in instances where errors are found in the website's content. Notify users that you may not be held responsible for any errors or incomplete, inaccurate, or unsuitable information.
- Accountability provisions: Include an arbitration system for user grievances, if necessary.
Comparing Terms of Service Agreements, End-User Licensing Agreements, and Service Agreements
A terms of service (ToS) agreement is similar to both an end-user licensing agreement (EULA) and a service agreement, but there are some key differences between the three types of contracts.
An EULA is an agreement between the user and provider of licensed out-of-box software products. However, many services don't require a license for the user to operate them, hence the updated terminology. Terms of service agreements may be found on many different kinds of software, from graphic design programs and word processors to advanced professional software or statistical analysis services. Mobile and desktop applications often contain EULAs, but these days, providers may decide the phrase terms of service is more relevant.