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Acceptable use policy

This acceptable use policy document is designed to regulate the use of a website or other online service. The bulk of the policy is concerned with prohibiting certain actions and certain types of content. The policy naturally covers unlawful actions and content, but may also cover actions and content that are undesirable but not unlawful.

As regards unlawful content, this can be addressed in detail or summarily. There is a general prohibition on content that is "illegal or unlawful" or that infringes "any person's legal rights" or that is capable of "giving rise to legal action against any person". Equally, however, there are specific prohibitions relating to defamation, obscenity, copyright infringement, data protection rights, and so on.

As regards merely undesirable content (i.e. content that is not unlawful), the acceptable use policy includes provisions prohibiting content that depicts violence, pornography and other sexually explicit content, and inaccurate / misleading content. Whether or not it is appropriate to retain these prohibitions when editing the template will depend upon the nature of the service and its audience.

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Acceptable use policy contents

  1. Introduction: definitions for acceptable use policy; parties to policy; agreement to policy by using services; express agreement to policy; services user minimum age under policy.
  2. General usage rules: no damaging use of services; no unlawful use of services; content must comply with provisions of part.
  3. Unlawful Content: no unlawful user content: general prohibition; no unlawful user content: specific prohibitions; previous complaints and user content.
  4. Graphic material: age suitability of user content; no violence in user content; no pornographic user content.
  5. Factual accuracy: content must be truthful; content must not risk defamation.
  6. Negligent advice: no professional advice in user content; no negligent advice in user content.
  7. Etiquette: content appropriate etc; no offensive content; no annoying content; no hostile communications; no deliberate offense; no content flooding; no duplicate content; categorisation of content; appropriate content titles; courtesy to service users.
  8. Marketing and spam: prohibition on marketing activities; no spam in user content; sending spam using email addresses; no promotion of marketing schemes; avoidance of IP blacklisting.
  9. Regulated businesses: no gambling-related activities; no pharmaceutical activities; no weapon-related activities.
  10. Monitoring: acknowledgement relating to monitoring.
  11. Data mining: no data mining.
  12. Hyperlinks: no hyperlinks to prohibited content.
  13. Harmful software: no harmful software; no risky software.
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