When you use a website such as Facebook, MySpace, Google, or even something as small as my site – www.eclewis.com – you agree to the terms of service of that website by using the website. Terms of Service (TOS) are just that – the terms that you agree to abide by if you use the site. The TOS is much like the terms you agree to when you shop at a brick and mortar store. You may agree to not bring food or drink into the store, to pay for items by cash or check and not credit card, or to adhere to a specific return policy. It is very similar when you go to a website.

A TOS is a contract between you and the website. You agree to do certain things in return for the ability to use the site. For something like Facebook, you agree to their TOS and in return you can connect to friends, post photos, and chat among other things. For something like my site, you acknowledge that I am not providing legal advice and in return get information about subjects so that when you go see your attorney, or if you use me as your attorney, you come to see me, you can come in with a basic knowledge about what you need from your attorney.

To help you understand what a TOS agreement is, I am going to spend the next twenty days going over the provisions of Facebook’s TOS. I am going to be using the September 23, 2008 revision. After going through the TOS, I will spend the next few days reviewing some common problems that may arise with a TOS and go over several other company’s TOS contracts just to highlight some of the differences that can exist.

Throughout this series, please be aware that you should not take my word for what the TOS means. I am giving my interpretation only – it is up to you to read the actual document and discuss any questions about it with your attorney. By reading my series on TOSs, you agree to the TOS on my site and the additional terms – you agree that this is not legal advice. You agree to consult an attorney if you have any questions about terms of service contracts. You agree that this is for informational purposes only. You acknowledge that if you are in a state other than Colorado, you may have additional regulations you must comply with as I don’t know any other state’s law and further acknowledge that you will contact an attorney in your state for any legal questions. If you have any questions about these terms of service, please contact me before reading further.

By reading this series and using this website, you agree to my TOS and acknowledge that this is not legal advice but for informational purposes only. If you are a Colorado business with an online presence, please contact me, Elizabeth Lewis, your online business attorney for more information about how you need to structure your business, what you need to do to make sure your website complies with all the laws and protects you, and for all your business needs at 720-258-6647 or Elizabeth.Lewis@eclewis.com.