Social Networking Sites
- Age Minimum: Facebook requires its users to be 13 years old and, if they are under 18, to be in high school or college. MySpace requires its users to be 14 years old.
- Lawsuit-related Terms: Facebook's terms are governed by Delaware law, MySpace's by California law. Facebook's terms state that all disputes relating to the site (except for some involving intellectual property or injunctive relief) will be settled under arbitration; MySpace's terms state that either the user or MySpace may demand that any dispute be settled by arbitration. For any cases in court, Facebook's terms state that the case will be heard in the state or federal courts of California; MySpace's terms state that such cases will be heard in state or federal courts in Los Angeles specifically.
- Age Minimum: Blogger requires that you are at least 13 years old. TypePad does not have an age minimum, but users under age 13 must have a parent or guardian review and complete the registration process. WordPress does not have an age minimum.
- Content Limits: All three sites have similar rules forbidding content that is obscene, defamatory, hateful (particularly along racial or ethnic lines), violates someone else's privacy, or that you do not have the right to post. Google and TypePad, but not WordPress, forbid you to promote illegal activities. There are some small differences in how the sites describe these various limits, but all three sites reserve the right to remove content at their discretion. Therefore, if you are posting something that many people would find objectionable, even if it is not specifically forbidden in the terms of services, you should be aware that the hosting site might take down the content nonetheless. One difference between Blogger and the other sites is that it asks that explicit material be made private, and that Google may put such material behind an interstitial page warning other users.
- Ownership of Content: For all three sites, when you submit material to the site, you grant the site a worldwide, non-exclusive, royalty-free license (please see our section explaining transfers and licenses) to publish content you post on your blog for the purpose of promoting your content and/or the site's services. TypePad's and WordPress's licenses also give them the right to modify or adapt the content as well. TypePad's license terminates when your blog account is terminated; WordPress makes reasonable efforts, when you delete content, to remove it from the website; Blogger's terms give no indication as to when their license expires. Blogger's and TypePad's terms explicitly say that they assert no ownership claim over the content you have submitted; WordPress's terms do not say this.
- Age Minimum: Go Daddy’s age minimum is 18; Project DoD’s terms set no minimum. Network Solutions requires that registrants be 13 years old with parental permission unless they are “of legal age to enter into this agreement.”
- Content Limits: Hosting companies tend to be aggressive in their content prohibitions; all three providers retain the right to remove content at their discretion. Project DoD’s terms are the least explicitly restrictive regarding specific types of content: “porn,” “hate sites,” “content that is targeted at offending any ethnic group,” “threaten[ing] or intimidat[ing] anyone,” “any activity which is likely to cause” harm to minors, “any action which encourages or consists of any threat of harm of any kind to any person or property,” and “inappropriate communication” on newsgroups, mailing lists, etc. are prohibited. Go Daddy’s terms prohibit “any material that, to a reasonable person may be abusive, obscene, pornographic, defamatory, harassing, grossly offensive, vulgar, threatening or malicious” and, if you use the free ad-supported option, “content intended to advocate or advance computer hacking or cracking, gambling, illegal activity, drug paraphernalia, hate, violence or racial or ethnic intolerance.” Network Solutions' Acceptable Use Policy contains the broadest restrictions of the three, barring “material that is obscene, defamatory, libelous, unlawful, harassing, abusive, threatening, harmful, vulgar, constitutes an illegal threat, violates export control laws, hate propaganda, fraudulent material or fraudulent activity, invasive of privacy or publicity rights, profane, indecent or otherwise objectionable material of any kind or nature.” In addition, Network Solutions prohibits “material that encourages conduct that could constitute a criminal offense, gives rise to civil liability,” or holds “Network Solutions (including its affiliates) or their employees or shareholders up to public scorn, ridicule, or defamation.” Several of the Network Solutions provisions may be of particular concern to journalists.
- Ownership of Content: Network Solutions retains only a license to cache your site. Go Daddy’s agreement appears to imply that you will be transferring the copyright in your content to Go Daddy when you use its services, by stating that "Go Daddy grants to You, and You accept from Go Daddy, a non-exclusive, worldwide and royalty free license to copy, display, use and transmit on and via the Internet Your website content in connection with Go Daddy's performance or enforcement of this Agreement." We couldn't find any other language in Go Daddy's terms of service that explains why you would need a license from Go Daddy to use your own content. We suggest that you seek clarification from Go Daddy before agreeing to this strange licensing provision in their terms of service. Project DoD’s terms of service make no mention of it acquiring any rights in your content.
- DMCA Policy: Project DoD’s terms require that you agree not to infringe copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, or other proprietary rights but do not elaborate on the service’s DMCA policy. Go Daddy has a dedicated Trademark and/or Copyright Infringement Policy providing detailed instructions on submission of violation claims, while Network Solutions provides that information on a general Legal Notice page. Go Daddy and Network Solutions both indicate that they will take down material in response to a notice of copyright infringement; Go Daddy also indicates that it will take reasonable steps to notify the party whose allegedly-infringing content was taken down, including providing a copy of the complaint. Go Daddy indicates that it may terminate the account of repeat infringers and provides detailed instructions as to how to file a counter-notification.
- Lawsuit-related Terms: Project DoD’s terms set no particular conditions relating to lawsuits. Both Go Daddy and Network Solutions require that you indemnify them against any liability resulting from your use of their services; both services retain the right to employ their own counsel, but Network Solutions further specifies that you remain solely responsible for their defense and must obtain their written consent to a settlement. In addition, you must agree to notify Go Daddy of a pending suit claiming you have violated a third party’s intellectual property rights. Both companies require that you confirm your indemnification in case of a lawsuit; failure to do so may be considered a breach of your terms of service. Go Daddy specifies that the agreement is governed by Arizona law and that any action arising from the agreement will be brought in Maricoa County, while Network Solutions specifies that the laws of Virginia govern the agreement and that suits under the agreement will be brought in the United States District Court in Alexandria or, if the federal courts have no jurisdiction, the state court in Fairfax County. Both Go Daddy and Network Solutions require that you waive your right to trial by jury, but neither requires arbitration.
- Service Availability: Project DoD’s terms make no mention of service availability, and Network Solutions emphatically disclaims any promises on the topic. Go Daddy, on the other hand, indicates that – subject to various rather broad conditions – it “shall attempt to provide” service at all times and that if it fails – by its own calculations – to provide service for 99.9% of a given month, you can request a credit of 5% of your monthly fee.