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What commercial terms do we commonly advise on in a digital context?

21 February 2017

Joe explains the basic suite of documentation that digital startups should have in place and why you need them.

Click here to access the ICO guidance that Joe mentions in the video:


Speaker key
Joe O’Callaghan

On the commercial side, we tend to advise on the basic suite of documents that startups need in place in order to operate. Namely: the website terms and conditions, or app terms. The privacy policy, the cookie policy, and the terms and conditions of business, which may, or may not, be subsumed within the website terms, but depending on the particular nature of the business.

The website terms and conditions, or app terms, are really important for a variety of different reasons. They protect the business against liabilities to third parties, they protect the business’s IP. They regulate the use of the service and any social features, for example, that may be included. And they provide a clear mechanism for the resolution of disputes with any users or customers.

Privacy policy is equally important for ensuring that you're complying with data protection law. It’s really important for startups to be really transparent with their users, as to the nature of the personal data they're collecting, what they're using it for, how they're storing it, and what third parties they're providing that data to. And it’s a similar story on the cookie side of things.


You need to be really transparent with your users as to the cookies you're placing on their devices and you actually need to seek their consent, which can be obtained in a variety of different ways. But, for example, by way of a pop-up or a banner. And there's some good guidance on the ICO website about this.

In terms of data, that's really important because, as a startup, you want to know that you're going to be able to use your data in the way you anticipate, at a later date, and that will be important for your investors too.

Finally, in terms of the terms and conditions of business, these vary widely depending on the nature of the business, but there are some basic questions that startups should ask themselves, such as, am I dealing with consumers. If you are, there’s a whole raft of consumer legislation may need to take into account, and that's likely to impact your terms and conditions.

Am I operating in a regulated sector, if yes, that, again, is likely to impact on your terms. And what are the specific risks in relation to my business, and how am I going to provide for those.


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The opinions expressed on this video are provided for the purposes of general interest and information and should not be relied upon. They contain only summaries of aspects of the subject matter at the time of publishing and do not provide comprehensive statements of the law. They do not constitute legal advice and do not provide a substitute for it. So why not talk to us and seek advice that's tailored to you? You can look up one of our experts on this website or call on 0370 270 6000.

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