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Your Website Terms of Use apply to every website visitor. The Website Terms of Use, in addition to claiming your intellectual property rights, and setting out permissible and prohibited uses of your website, including that competitors cannot use your website information, should also have rules regarding republishing. Like any clause in a legally binding contract, best practice would be to have a business solicitor review (or better yet, draft!) these clauses for you.

 What is republishing?

In your Website Terms of Use it is important to define for the users of your site what is republishing and how, when and under what circumstances visitors to the Site may republish, if at all.

Generally, websites tend to allow visitors to republish, copy, distribute, transmit, or publicly display (in hard copy, soft copy or online) material on the website subject to certain conditions.

 What are the standard requirements?

Of course, requirements will vary depending on your particular business, however, some of the more general requirement you might see in a ‘republishing’ clause might include:

  • Visitors not being allowed to make alterations to any of the materials that it takes from the website and republishes;
  • Visitors attributing the material from your website, including linking back to your website whenever possible; and
  • Visitors not republishing the material from your website in any way which could reasonably be considered to be obscene, inappropriate, defamatory, disparaging, indecent, seditious, offensive, pornographic, threatening, abusive, liable to incite racial hatred, discriminatory, blasphemous, in breach of confidence or in breach of privacy, or would bring you, your business, or you website disrepute.

The above requirement might seem obvious, yet many businesses fail to include them in their Website Terms of Use, leading to breaches of their intellectual property rights – a problem that is often difficult to contain without proper legal support.

Conclusion

Commercially speaking, it makes sense to allow republishing of your content and to ensure that the correct attribution is provided. This may increase awareness of your website and promote your business. To protect your business, in your Website Terms of Use, you can set out the procedure for republishing material from your website.

If you have any questions regarding your Website Terms of Use, you should speak to one of our online business solicitors today!

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