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How To Protect Your Membership Website

By Internet Lawyer, Website Lawyer, Website Legal Documents
website membership agreement

When you own a membership website, a written membership site contract is essential to protecting what you own. And reducing the chance you’ll get sued by an unhappy member.

This is true whether membership is free, paid for up front, or on a subscription basis.

One of the biggest risks is a member mistakenly believing that access to member content gives the member unlimited rights to download and redistribute the content to friends or the public in general. And if you haven’t address this issue, it can create a legal nightmare.

In short, you’ll want your website membership agreement’s licensing provisions to make it clear what can and can’t be down with your content (e.g. videos, audios, text, etc.).

And there’s the problem that arises from members who don’t know what their rights and responsibilities after membership terminates (by you or the member). For example, will the terminated member get a partial refund? If so, how is that calculated?

How do you integrate a membership site agreement into the process? Typically, it’s handled as part of signup/checkout.

Like other website legal documents (e.g., privacy policy), an experienced website lawyer can help you get the right language in place to protect your online membership business.

If you need help with your membership agreement, set up a phone consultation with Internet Business Lawyer Mike Young today.

Website Membership Contract: Do You Need One On Your Site?

By Internet Lawyer, Website Lawyer, Website Legal Documents

website membership contractThere’s a lot of confusion as to whether a website membership contract is necessary. Many online businesses mistakenly think that the site’s terms of use (a.k.a. terms of service) provides enough protection when selling online memberships (sometimes referred to as a subscription or continuity program).

Yet, as part of your website legal documents, it’s important to have a separate membership agreement in these instances to protect  intellectual property and other legal rights. A good contract will reduce lawsuits and the likelihood you’ll get into trouble with the FTC or another government agency.

This membership contract spells out exactly what the buyer is getting with the purchase (e.g. a license to use X), what happens when membership ends, and many other important key terms that are unique to the membership itself (as opposed to all website visitors).

In addition, a good online membership agreement will address what will happen if there’s a conflict between the terms and conditions of the agreement and your site’s general terms of use and refund policy.

A skilled Internet business lawyer can draft a custom website membership contract that’s specifically designed to protect you and your venture.

Website Membership Agreement: 3 Key Legal Protections for Your Site

By Internet Lawyer, Website Lawyer, Website Legal Documents

website membership agreementWhen you’re running a membership site, it’s important to have a website membership agreement, that is, a legally binding contract that identifies the respective rights and responsibilities of you as the site owner and your clients as members.

Why?

A good membership agreement prevents confusion, protects your site content, and provides you with remedies for member misconduct. Here three things you should include in your site’s membership contract.

1. Scope of Membership License.

What are your members allowed to do with the content they can access on your membership site?

Many members mistakenly believe they can download and use all of your site’s content as they see fit.

There are even unethical people out there who will sign up for a membership site, scrape all the valuable content on the site, and then repackage and sell what they’ve scraped.

In essence, you’ve created the content but after paying a small membership fee (and they usually cancel their memberships during the trial period or first month), these bad apples become your competitors. To add insult to injury, because these members don’t have your investment costs in creating the material, it’s easy for them to undercut you on price when selling your content to others.

This is why a membership agreement is a key piece of website legal protection.

Related Article: 5 Business Website Disclosures And Disclaimers

2. Dispute Resolution.

A good membership agreement lets you pursue all remedies available to you in law and equity for intellectual property theft. On the other hand, you should consider using alternative dispute resolution (ADR) mechanisms, such as a combination of mediation and binding arbitration, to resolve most other disputes that arise between you as the site owner and your members.

In general, ADR is quicker and costs less to resolve disputes than ending up in court in a lawsuit.

Your membership contract should also identify which laws apply to govern the agreement as well as the location of where disputes will be resolved. This reduces the risk you’ll end up applying unfavorable law to a dispute in a jurisdiction far away from where your business is located.

3. Rights after Membership Termination.

Frequently, membership sites include content that members can download to their computers, tablets or smart phones and use at any time.

Do you want members to continue using your content after their membership has been cancelled? If not, you’ll want to include provisions to bar such use.

Related Article: Membership Website – How To Create One The Right Way

Although there are many other provisions your Internet lawyer can include a website membership agreement to protect you, these three areas are the fundamental building blocks for a good contract that lays the ground rules for use of your membership content.

What if you don’t have a website membership agreement for your site?

If you have a membership site, you’ll want a contract in place that protects your rights. If you’d like to discuss getting such an agreement prepared by Web Lawyer Mike Young, the first thing you’ll do is set up a phone consultation.