Why do my favorite websites have “terms of use” agreements?

To prevent misuse and abuse of those visiting, most reputable websites today have “terms of use” agreements. Those agreements must be read and agreed to before utilizing the services which the website offers. This is why you will see, for example, a complete set of guidelines that you must understand and agree to before selling or purchasing something on ebay and many similar sites.

These sites establish rules to prevent the buying and selling of non-appropriate items, price fixing, pornographic content, live animals, and many other stipulations which could render them out of business should be government find the owner/corporation to be in violation. Many terms of use agreements also protect users from copying, duplicating or using the designs and formats of these sites to create sites of their own. The terms of use agreement also protects these service sites from unknowingly engaging in unlawful activity by its users. The businesses which own and run these valuable sites definitely do not want to be held legally responsible for the actions of users who purposely violate their user agreements. That is why a “disclaimer” of responsibility is also built into most user agreements, relieving the parent company from activity which they may not be immediately aware of. Even though the company usually has an entire staff to monitor the buying, selling, and notices, things can often slip in and go unchecked for several hours, even days. These terms of use agreements simply protect the user from unwittingly entering into inappropriate activity and the main company from being held liable for the same.

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