View Full Version : Terms of service for clients

10-14-2004, 06:13 PM
So what I mean is this-

all resellers should have their clients sign a terms of service agreement electronically or phsyically (signature on paper)

What I would like to know is this- how do you make a terms of service agreement legally binding when signed electronically (on a form online)

What I am doing now is having them type their name in a formmail form- but I have a feeling this may not hold up in court in case of worse comes to worse,.

Anyone have any suggestions? How do you have clients fill out terms of service?

(I am asking this because a client of mine is suddenly completely insane and I need ways to protect myself from insane clients)

10-14-2004, 07:24 PM
I have seen the type your name in here approach before. I have also seen a check this box agreement. Most agreements when installing a program are set up that way with the default check being to not accept. I would think that since that is what most folks use incudeing companies like Microsoft and other big names that it must have some validity when in court. Also if you have recieved payment from then I would think that would show that you had entered into an agreement with them. It may be this is one of those things that is governed by the state you are in so may be different depending on where you live.

Do you have the field for typeing thier name set so that it is required so that there would be no way for them to submit it with out doing that? I would think that might make a difference.

10-15-2004, 07:30 PM
Well I had him sign the tos, but since it was formmail all the email says is

"I agree... (his name)."

The email itself doesnt really prove that it came from a url with the tos or anything.

I'm just not sure if he could get that thrown out in court. I know that emailed contracts are legally binding, however.

10-16-2004, 09:01 AM
I am not a lawyer by any means but I think that if you can "prove" or show that the formmail field "I agree" is the one that was the sig for agreeing to the TOS that you have some ground to stand on. I think it may be worth looking into a script that would process the form that was specific to your needs so that maybe it emails a full copy via email to you and them that is formatted similair to the agreement or that atleast detailed it a bit better then FromMail does.

10-17-2004, 12:42 AM
Yeah I agree, thanks.
On another note, I would bet 9/10 legal threats end with nothing- the majority of them are just ridiculous threats (not that I've been threatened nine times and sued once, hehe).
I'm a very ethical businessman, but this day in age, you can never be too safe.

10-18-2004, 08:50 AM
(I am not a lawyer and this is not legal advice)


I think there are some laws regarding digital signatures, also called electronic signatures.

I have seen legal emails where lawyers say:

By typing my name below I affirm this as my digital signature:

/s/ NAME

And this is legally binding, as far as I know.

A site with good legal info is this: http://www.chillingeffects.org/

10-18-2004, 11:08 AM
I have seen legal emails where lawyers say:

By typing my name below I affirm this as my digital signature:

/s/ NAME

And this is legally binding, as far as I know.

I'm not a lawyer either, but . . . Ouch! What happens if you type someone elses name? Obviously, the affirmation is false, but how does the lawyer know that?

10-18-2004, 11:21 PM
Well I'm not a lawyer either, but I would think that if your client bought into your service then he has signified acceptance of your terms. If he disagreed he had his chance before plopping down the dough.


10-19-2004, 07:14 AM
It is really ashame there are not some templates for stuff like this like they have for like wills and such. Just basics that may not be rock solid but at least give an idea. It may be that the laws are just not established enough when it comes to the internet. I tried to get some feedback on this but got a "you need to contact a lawyer". I think everyone is to afraid to even make a suggestion thinking it may come back on them. Almost made me want to come back here and post a long disclaimer but figure everyone realizes we are just trying to brainstrome and find some answers.

The times I have tried to find answers to such things like this or even copyright I have ended up at sites that make head hurt. Maybe if we keep looking we may find a "Internet Law for Dummies" site.

10-19-2004, 07:25 AM
I did a google search and did come up with a book that Amazon has. Within the table of contents there is a chapter that has this in the title: "...simply have proof of written, signed terms". So prehaps this would be a good book to look at. It is a paperback and not to expensive.

101 Things You Need to Know About Internet Law
ISBN: 0609806335

10-24-2004, 02:28 AM
Thanks for the info, I'll check it out if the issue comes up again.

10-25-2004, 02:22 PM
What happens if you type someone elses name?

I have seen that in the DMCA law the person who types his/her name needs to say something like "under the penalty of perjury, I declare that I am the copyright holder of this work" etc... but I am not sure what this perjury thing is in the US law or its consequences or how the letter recipient can ensure about the validity of the name. What I think I understand is that if you spot a false signature then the person who signed it may have the accept the consequences of perjury.

I have found several DMCA letters and information about some legal issues at http://www.chillingeffects.org/

That site is may be useful if you receive a legal letter or if you want to send such a letter.