Contract Drafting: A comparision between Agreement and Website Terms

After completing my LLB from Delhi University, in the year 2006, I have worked as a lawyer, trademark attorney and a freelancer. In all the capacities I have discovered stark differences in the drafting methods adopted by my peers and colleagues alike.

In may capacity as a freelance attorney doing contract drafting, I have found the nirvana point in my professional work. Unlike drafting for a claim or defence, drafting an agreement or a contract provides flexibility and offers most challenging intellectual impetus that lawyers look for. Most of litigation related drafting in Indian Courts have become very monotonous, but drafting an agreement is always interesting.

There are minor differences that a drafter has to keep in mind while they draft an agreement or a website’s terms. The major difference being¬† the approach that a drafter should take. While drafting an agreement, the audience are the two or more parties to the contract, who might be discussing each and very provision of the agreement in detail. Whereas, in case of Website terms the owner of the website should have legal provisions, which will not only protect his business interests but will also have the capacity attract website users, who would otherwise prevent registering/ using the website due to its one sided approach.

So I suggest the Website owners to be very careful in what they desire. An example would be case of Facebook, which recently had to change its Privacy Policy under immense pressure from its users. Seeing the popularity of the Facebook website, one can think that people behind the Facebook brand might be able to exercise a great influence in deciding about the website terms. But, as evident from practical difficulty that Facebook faced, it is clear that users being the consumer of the website, have greater amount of control.

Let us hope that the website owners and the users find a common ground in determining the legal provisions of website’s terms.

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