The World Wide Web is the wild frontier of commerce, and the law has not caught up with all the activity on the open range. Web sites offer users tremendous resources: database information, chat rooms, bulletin boards, free software, and entertainment. Universal rules for the use of these resources, however, do not yet exist. Without clear standards of behavior, users could start the chat room equivalent of a saloon fight, or make off like rustlers with a Web site's intellectual property.
More and more Web site publishers are attempting to set their own rules by imposing "terms and conditions" on people visiting their sites. Like a sheriff posting a warning at the edge of town, many Webmasters are putting hypertext READ THIS notices on their home pages. These postings link to terms and conditions that purport to govern users of the Web site. Even without a six-shooter and a tin star, the following tips will provide some ammunition for drafting terms that can keep the peace on a Web site:
Note appropriate guidelines for bulletin boards and chat. …