Privacy and Terms and Conditions

Before you launch and while you offer small private beta access of your service what type of legal docs do you have in place?

Did/Do you have any at all?

Is there a short “We aint responsible for nuttin” catch all paragraph that will suffice for a services early beta stage.

How do you approach breaches of data and claims for damages.

How do you write them up? Any good sources of info?

At what point do you get the lawyer involved? Are they necessary.

I’m sure it depends on the type of software you make. Medical software i’m sure has to have legally tight docs from the start. But what about help desk, appointment or project management software?

####Summary of answers####

Food for thought - most payment processors require you to have docs in place.

To make them you can…

1 Use a generator

2 Look to other software products TOS for inspiration

  • Wordpress (creative commons!)
  • Basecamp
  • Atlassian
  • Salesforce

3 Use a service like - $$

4 get a lawyer $$$

1 Like

I’m working through this at the moment, too.

I’m working up an agreement based on the Atlassian Customer Agreement and the Salesforce Subscription Agreement. The Atlassian one is a bit tricky to adapt to pure SAAS, and they might both be overkill for your purposes, but they do both have wording about what you can expect for ‘No-charge products’ (Atlassian) or ‘Free Trials’ (SaleForce). Both have wording around beta products.

There should be something there that will get you started, or if not, there’ll be something else out there that works.

I’ll be getting a lawyer to look over this before I get any customers on board. I’m sure a lot of people would be happy to move ahead without getting a lawyer to look over it, I just figure better safe than sorry.

I think you should have a Terms of Service and Privacy Policy in place before letting people use your SaaS.

A few options:

  1. $$$ Have a lawyer draft these documents for you (find one that knows the software business)
  2. $$ Use something like
  3. $ Leverage the work of others

I like the idea of something like, which is supposedly hassle-free, but it’s pretty expensive for bootstrappers.

Automattic, the company behind WordPress, makes their ToS and Privacy Policy available for use under Creative Commons:

I know payment providers such as BrainTree, require you have those in place before you can setup a payment system. It’s also good to have them before your beta begins to cover your butt, just in case something goes horribly wrong.

I spent a few hours writing out our ToS and Privacy Policy. It wasn’t the most exciting part about launching but the peace of mind it brings is invaluable.

IMO, privacy policies and ToS are mostly boilerplate from what I’ve read and seen. I personally would not spend the money on a lawyer at the early stages to get one perfect. This is wasted time and money when you should be validating, getting customers and working on sales. Be careful of distraction. :smile:

Privacy policies can be auto-generated to get going. Here’s a search on Google to help: (I’ve personally used the top 4 services and they have varying quality but they all save you time and get you a good starting point). Using Automattic’s is a good place to go too.

Copying another site’s terms of service and modifying to suit your needs should be more than enough for most SaaS businesses. Unless you’re doing something with significant legal exposure (e.g. medical hardware), this is probably enough to get you out of the gate and put it on your “when we get some money, review this with a lawyer later” list.

I made some because my payment gateway required to have them (WireCard) and as well because I feel it was important to state things.

I did not involve a lawyer, I just asked Amy Hoy from Freckle if I could borrow those and she told me to go ahead.

You will see that many SaaS around have similar ones, based on the original ToS from Basecamp actually :slight_smile:

Thanks everyone. For those suggestions.

Its reassuring to know many of you use boilerplate or other sites TOS for “inspiration” in the short term. I think that’s what I’ll do.

I’m going to update my original post with a short summary of all your suggestions. I’ll try and keep it updated if more people add details.

Actually I wish this is something forum boards would do automaticaly - create a summary of all the links mentioned in a topic with maybe the full sentence they were in for context.

For privacy policy I use - it’s not expensive and easy to setup.