How Does a Startup Write a Terms of Service and Privacy Policy?

A recent LawTrades user asked: Do we have to hire a lawyer to write the documents or is it okay to first write a general one based on a generator? How did Facebook prepare its Privacy Policy and Terms of Service at first?

No two businesses are identical and it is not recommended that you use a generator or copy and paste another companies terms of service and privacy policy. Although your business models may be similar, each business has their own unique identifiers which warrant a proprietary PP and TOS. If you use data in a way that is not clearly stated in your documents, you could be leaving yourself wide open for some legal pitfalls.

We understand that dealing with a lawyer is often a daunting and intimidating task, and since you’re operating a startup you certainly have other tasks to focus on. However, if you invest the time now to protect yourself it could potentially pay dividends in the future. It may be tempting to simply have these important documents created with the use of a generator, but I have seem more harm than good come from these. Additionally, the generated documents are essentially a “blanket” document and contain a lot of information that does not pertain to your business. This results in a PP and TOS that is much longer than it should be. Besides, if creating your own legal documents was so easy then why doesn’t everyone do it? I’ll tell you why and it’s the same reason why computers cannot completely automate the process of accounting. It is because human input, knowledge, and expertise is needed, period.

Think of your PP and TOS as stating how your business operates. If users doesn’t feel comfortable visiting they may not convert or worse, just use a competitor. Sounds scary, doesn’t it? Just think, this potential headache could be avoided by simply taking the time now to create a proper PP and TOS.

The following article from Forbes does a great job emphasizing the importance of hiring a lawyer.

What Start-ups Should Know About Hiring a Lawyer

Hope this was helpful! Feel free to check out LawTrades if you have any further questions 🙂

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