What's a good resource for a U.S. based startup social network to begin building its first terms of service?


Hi there,

Raad here from LawTrades (on-demand legal service for startups).

If you're looking for a fast and affordable way to get those drafted by experienced legal professionals, then have a look at It's free to request price quotes and you're in no obligation to hire. We've processed dozens of Terms of Service and Privacy Policies for bootstrapped startups.

But if you're pursuing the free route, then a simple google search will yield you a bunch of free templates.

The problem is those boilerplate templates may not cover all the rules a user must abide by in order to use YOUR particular service. This leaves you with adding in terms which may or may not appropriately address all of your businesses legal issues.

Some of these topics include:
Definitions of certain keywords
Accountability for actions/conduct
Opt out policies
Payment details
Clarifying the sites legal liability
Notifying the users of any modifications of terms

In the meantime, here's a helpful guide about protecting your website from liability:

Answered 8 years ago

California licensed attorney here, former VP/head of legal at eHarmony and original MySpace legal team. This question falls right in my sweet spot.

At the risk of sounding preachy, TOS *and* Privacy Policy are best developed with the help of an experienced Internet lawyer. These form a contract between your startup and every person who uses the service — which, if you're successful, will number in the hundreds of thousands or millions. There are endless variations, including many items that are product-specific or unique to the location of the company. As you grow, these terms will lay the foundation for everything from banning abusive users to complying with DMCA takedown notices to handling refunds and credits if payment is involved.

There are no easy/cheap shortcuts, but I wrote a Quora post on this subject; the title says it all:

"How To Do What You Really Shouldn't Be Doing: 'Rolling Your Own' Website Terms of Use and Privacy Policy" -

Happy to connect by Clarity to answer any questions or offer specific advice as appropriate. (This answer is general legal information, not advice.)

Answered 9 years ago

This is a tricky one. As a lawyer I would recommend you ask an attorney to draft one for you but I know that is not always budget friendly. I would recommend finding a similar type service and make sure you account for all the terms. Taking your draft to a lawyer for a review should not take more than an hour or two and will save you money in the long run. Strategically for an early stage startup this is probably the budget friendly way to go.

Let me know if you would like to discuss more,

Answered 9 years ago

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