Should I Just Click “I Agree”?

Uncategorized Oct 31, 2017

As we surf around the Internet, we are often required to click “I AGREE” to use an application, game or to buy products or services.

Business owners have often asked me, should I just click “I Agree” or do I need to read all of the details?

There are likely not enough hours in the day to read every word of all of the Terms of Service or Terms of Use that you encounter. Here are some practical tips about what to think about and what to focus on:

  1. Valid Contract – The law provides that you can enter into contracts electronically AND also allows the terms of such an agreement to be incorporated by hyperlinks to the more detailed terms of use. Therefore, by clicking “I AGREE”, you need to understand that you are entering into a valid legal contract. The terms do need to be “readable” to the user.
  2. Important Terms to Check – If you are downloading an application for use in your business, there are certain important terms of service that you should focus on checking:
  • How will your copyrighted materials (that you created) be used and shared by the service? What type of rights does the application have?
  • How will your personal information be used by the application? Will it be shared with other related applications or third parties?
  • What are the rules for your business use of the application? Can the service delete your account in certain circumstances?
  • Does the application need to provide users with notice of changes in the terms of use?
  • How does the application secure and protect the information that you have entered?

  1. Follow the Rules – If you are using an application as an important part of your business, I would highly recommend that you follow the rules of use for the application. Most terms of use allow your account to be deleted or suspended for a violation. You do not want to risk losing your Facebook page, LinkedIn profile or Instagram account for such a violation.

There is a user rights initiative (https://tosdr.org/) which attempts to provide summary information about many of the popular applications and what the terms of use mean. The challenge is that they rely on volunteers to update the information and it is difficult to keep up with frequent changes. This can still be a helpful resource. You can also ask a question using the help or support options of the application regarding the terms of use and their meaning.

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