A disclaimer is a notice which is placed on your website in an effort to limit your liability for the outcome of the use of your site. Even if you havenít thought much about them previously, you have certainly seen disclaimers all over the web. Nearly every website has one in place, and you should as well. While a disclaimer certainly canít rule out the possibility of legal action taking place at some point in the future, it can go a long way toward protecting your best interests.
So what kinds of website elements can be covered by a disclaimer? The content on your website is usually the first place to start. Even if you make every effort to confirm the accuracy of the information you have placed on your site, it is always possible that some of the information on your pages may be inaccurate. If a website user can prove that this incorrect information has harmed them in some way, you could potentially be found liable in court. However, if you had an appropriate disclaimer in place to cover the content of your site, you may be able to successfully argue that you are not liable.
Beyond content, other pieces of your site which could be covered by a disclaimer include potential copyright issues, the transmission of viruses, and more. Technically, just about anything you place on your site can be addressed through the use of a disclaimer. As you prepare to take your site live onto the web, it is wise to think through everything you are publishing and consider placing a disclaimer on anything that you feel may open you up to a lawsuit in the future.
It does need to be highlighted that the use of a disclaimer does not in any way eliminate the possibility of a lawsuit. Anyone can file a lawsuit at any time for any reason, whether you have a disclaimer in place or not. It will be up to the courts to determine the validity of a lawsuit which has been levied against you, which is where a quality disclaimer could come into the picture. If a court determines that your disclaimers do, in fact, cover the items in question in the lawsuit, you may be protected from liability.
Our disclaimer document is intended for use in relation to the simplest kinds of website that need to comply with English law: information-only websites lacking any significant interactive features (other than hyperLinks and HTML forms). This disclaimer has been used on hundreds of thousands of websites.
The disclaimer has three main functions. First, it specifies the basis upon which the website may be used. In order to use a website, it must be copied, and so this takes the form of a copyright licence. Second, it attempts to limit and exclude (disclaimer) various types of liability that may arise from the use of the website. Third, it prompts the publication of certain information that must, under English law, be published on a website.
The document is a shorter version of the basic website terms and conditions document available on this website. The main differences is that this document omits the provisions relating specifically to interactive website features.
The disclaimer document is divided into the following sections:
a licence of the copyright in the website (and restrictions on what may be done with the material on the website);
a disclaimer of liability (which gives the document its name);
a variation clause;
an entire agreement clause;
a clause specifying the applicable law and the jurisdiction in which disputes will be decided; and
a provision specifying some of the information which needs to be disclosed under the Ecommerce Regulations.
The primary purpose of a website disclaimer is to limit or attempt to limit the liabilities that a website owner or publisher may suffer arising out of the website. Examples of the kinds of liability that we publishers must contend with include libel/defamation, copyright infringement and breach of privacy. Most legal systems strictly control the effects of limitations and exclusions of liability. For this reason you should take local legal advice if you believe you may have to rely upon the limits of liability in our website disclaimer document.