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Terms of Service for an indie site?

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Okay, so i always looks at the "TOS" page of sites running Mysidia (yep this script again) and completelly don't know what to do.I saw some templates and stuff but i completelly don't know how to do it because all forms are with "companies" and i work at the site all alone, the site has no lucrative ending and only few copyright disclaimers are applied; so no company.

So what to do?

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I basically went around and looked at a bunch of TOS on adoptable sites and typed up my own based on that. In case it helps, I turned mine into template form:


-Terms of Use-

The following is the "Agreement" between you and WEBSITE NAME ("us" or "we") and are the applicable rules when you visit and play on SITE URL. (secondary URL if available) It is very important that you understand and follow these rules. PLEASE READ THIS AGREEMENT CAREFULLY BEFORE PLAYING ON WEBSITE NAME. By using WEBSITE NAME or by clicking a box that states that you accept or agree to these terms, you signify your agreement to these Terms of Use. If you do not agree to these Terms of Use, you may not play on any of WEBSITE NAME.

By creating an account and/or accessing any part of the site, visitors and guests agree to be bound by all terms and conditions. These Terms of Use may be altered at any time without notice.

1. Users must be at least (INSERT NUMBER) years of age to access the site. All minors must have parental permission to access to the site and play. (NOTE: This is if your site isn't intentionally geared towards children)

2. Game currency, events, items, adoptables, and other articles present in the game do not represent real items or situations and are only for use within the game.

3. WEBSITE NAME is under no obligation to continue or alter its services or to provide compensation to users for downtime or lost in-game accounts, items, or currency. Users create and access accounts and services at their own risk.

4. Users may have account privileges and features revoked at any time for inappropriate behavior including but not limited to plagiarism, exploitation of errors or bugs, unapproved use of programs for advancement within the game, and inappropriate use of words, images, or other content. SITE NAME reserves the right to restrict or deny any account or account feature for any user for any reason at any time. Users accept full responsibility for and liability of any and all content they choose to display.

5. Do Not Try To Share Personal Information. Please do not try to share with anyone your personally identifiable information such as your physical address, school name, last name, photographs of yourself, or telephone number. Likewise, do not ask for any such information from other users. If you think anything is suspicious, make sure to report it.

7. Respect Other People's Creative Material. We respect the creative material/intellectual property of others, and we ask our players to do the same. We may, in appropriate circumstances and at out discretion, terminate the accounts of players who infringe the intellectual property rights of others.

8. Do Not Share Your Account. You shall not share your account with anyone or allow anyone else other than you personally to access or use your account, other than your parent(s) or guardian(s) who have rights to access and manage your account if you are a minor. You will be held responsible for any activity that occurs on an account registered to you.

9. All site software, design, text, images, photographs, illustrations, audio clips, video clips, artwork, graphic material, programs, routines, objects, files data, characters/avatars (including all attributes comprising or associated with any player account such as virtual currency, trophies, virtual pets, game statistics, and virtual items), player and pet names, games or other copyrightable elements, and the selection and arrangements thereof, and trademarks, service marks and trade names (the "Material") are the property of SITE OWNER and/or their subsidiaries, affiliates, assigns, licensors or other respective owners and are protected, without limitation, pursuant to U.S. and foreign copyright and trademark laws.

Feel free to use and edit as you see fit.

Edited by Dinocanid
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Just be sure that ya'll (and anyone else reading this) actually deeply understand the TOS you implement into your site. These aren't just empty words. These are not only the rules of your site (something you'll have to defend when users question or break them) but also things you would have to defend in a court of law (if a case ever happens). It's unlikely that a pet/adopt/etc site may ever get that far, but I still highly advise reading and understanding your TOS forward and backwards just in case any sort of incident comes up.

And obviously, as an ideal, you would work with a lawyer to be sure things are air tight and make sense.

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Knowing and understanding it is the best I can do. i don't have a lawyer, nor could I afford one if the need arises. (I can barely get the money for my site alone). It is better than no TOS though, and it sets ground rules and expectations for the users without a generic rules page.

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I would also second that a lawyer should look over it, but I understand that it may not currently be in the budget. My TOS has evolved and changed over the years, and is currently in need of a re-write, but I would just make sure that you understand everything that is in it and WHY behind all of it. You need to make sure you are protected.

In the past, I have offered my TOS as a template with explanations for why I have each section, but I no longer do that. However, you can still see HP's TOS on other sites every once and awhile, haha.

I'm not a lawyer, so I still think you should consult one before taking any of my advice. But: My biggest advice is you need to lay out what is allowed and not allowed from your users, you need to lay out a refund policy, a disclaimer about any bugs or interruption of service and whether or not you will compensate people for this, you should probably have information about grounds for removal from the site, you need to specify that users must be responsible for their own posts/content. Basically you need to lay out what YOU are responsible for, and what your PLAYERS are responsible for. I also like to include a disclaimer about not being responsible gaming addiction in mine.

Also, don't forget about the separate Privacy Policy!

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