By Tiffany Derville Gallicano
Cross-posted to PR Profs
Reader-friendly terms of service can give organizations a business advantage; plus, they are a gesture that readers will likely appreciate. Since the brouhaha over Facebook’s terms of service, several bloggers (most recently, Todd Defren) have discussed the importance of reading the terms of service.
The problem is that terms of service tend to be difficult to read. They can be steeped in legal language, they can be impersonal, and many of them are formatted in ways that inhibit reading (e.g., all caps, white font on dark backgrounds).
I say this having surfed yesterday through several terms of service pages from royalty free music sites for my students’ podcasts.
I don’t think that terms of service should have to be painful to read. I suggest having a reader-friendly version that summarizes the main points and links to the legal language. The terms of service for WordPress are a great example. There are three well written, understandble paragraphs that summarize the terms of service, followed by the legal language. Here is an example from Alton Brown of a fun terms of service policy (granted, it’s short, which helps).
Should we teach our students to be proactive in their future workplaces by creating a friendly version of their organizations’ terms of service? Do you have examples to share of exemplary terms of service or ones needing improvement?