Internet service (access) providers and host service providers (collectively “ISPs”) play a key role in giving users access to the internet and internet content. They do not directly control the content of the material available on the internet nor any material which their customers access and/or upload or download using their system, services and facilities. Therefore, such providers may unwittingly be carrying material which is illegal or harmful.
Although liability for illegal and harmful content remains with those who create it, and ISPs are exempted from liability where they act as a “mere conduit” for information in numerous jurisdictions including European Union and United States
Many Internet access providers and host service providers had already established their own Acceptable Use Policies and Codes of Conduct as a means of self-regulation.
Such policies and codes are particularly important to establish the type of remedial measures which may be taken by ISPs against illegal and harmful content, i.e. the removal of such content from the host’s server or blocking access to such content by access providers.
Such Acceptable Use Policies may also be used by any website provider for the same reasons, often in conjunction with Privacy Policies.
On the question of jurisdiction, by far the most difficult provision to draft and indeed enforce in any such online terms is that relating to the applicable law. Since the internet is truly global and there are (usually) no boundaries for mass online use of website material, a cross-border/international approach is suggested in this Contract with a few optional variations if preferred.
Most online terms and conditions now merely require the end-user/visitor to constructively accept the terms in the form of “Browse-wrap” or “Click-wrap” format whereby the terms are accepted by the end-user, in the case of click-wrap, by clicking an “Accept” (or “I agree”) button at the end of the Terms or, in the case of “Browse-wrap”, by merely continuing to view, browse, use, download or license/purchase content.
These two contracts contains typical provisions which may be found in many of such Acceptable Use Policies worldwide and the Code of Conduct (Contract 68B) include rules relating to material which may be posted by participants to an internet discussion site.