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I have an app and don't want to pay somebody to write them for me. The Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy are pretty similar with other's websites/app and I want to rewrite them by my own. Do I need some verification or are them mandatory before posting them on the app/website?

Can I be sued for copying the terms or conditions?

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A developer can, if s/he so chooses, write a TOS document, an EULA, and/or a privacy policy. There is a risk that such a self-written document may not have the desired legal effect, if a legal challenge occurs, or the documents are significant in some legal case. If the documents are similar to those used by several other similar apps published by large firms, this risk may be reduced.

There is no central authority that must approve such documents.

The wording of such documents is, in theory, subject to copyright protection. Copying a legal document without permission could be copyright infringement, and the copyright holder could sue. However, many legal documents are slightly modified versions of standard or commonly used documents, which in turn are modified copies of earlier somewhat similar documents. There may not be enough original content in a TOS very similar to everyone else's TOS for it to be protected by copyright. Even if it is protected, it is unlikely to be registered, so (in the US) statutory damages will not be available, and only actual damages, based on the value of the TOS document as a document could be obtained in a copyright suit. That would not be a large sum, and the copyright holder might well not choose to sue over such a sum. Theere would still be some risk, of course.

If the developer takes the ideas from several existing TOS (or similar) documents, and uses them to create a different document expressing the same ideas, there is probably not a copyright violation. Copyright does not protect ideas, only expressions of ideas.

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IANAL, but...

My lawyer, when writing ToS and EULAs uses other EULAs and ToSes for similar applications to look for interesting points, caveats and worries other companies have, then alters them to have consistent style and wording and gives me back a proper document.

I have had to use ToS twice and they covered my interests so practically speaking his stuff works.

Hope this helps.

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You can choose to write your ToS yourself, just don’t expect them to be enforceable if you go anywhere near a courtroom.

Secondly, you need to ensure that you are complying with the law everywhere you sell your app ... which, these days, is basically everywhere. Privacy and consumer protection laws are different and you can be fined millions of dollars for breaching them.

Copying other people’s ToS is a copyright breach.

  • "Copying other people’s ToS is a copyright breach": perhaps, but it is one for which nobody is at all likely to have any sort of trouble. – phoog Sep 17 '18 at 0:21
  • scenes a faire doctrine might apply, for that matter (but I'm no lawyer!) – Stackstuck Nov 16 '18 at 13:35

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