The internet never forgets and you should heed this warning when signing any agreement with the webmaster of any website or site-related service provider. Always read the TOS carefully before agreeing to anything because if you do not understand the full legal ramifications under its terms, it could cost you dearly.
Your agreement with the website provider may contain a non-disparagement clause which could cause you to be sued for libel should you disclose some of the negative information about their business, property or service that you have been privy to.
If you sign up with a website, the web host and hosting facility usually provide all the technical support and customer service based on your experience with them. That is not limited to customer support if there are issues with their product or service. It can be anything that you would like to report or discuss including the terms of service, pay-to-view content and/or other issues.
As with any contract, your agreement with them may contain a clause as follows: “All content hosted on this website are legally copyrighted by -Name-“, which is just an introductory statement to their legal statements in the terms of service, but does indicate how all their contents are owned by them and ensure that you understand that. Make sure you read everything. They may include the following:
There is no guarantee that your agreement with them will only consist of reading the Terms of Service. The website provider can gain too much control over your account by simply asking you to review the TOS, but on the other hand, if you sign up with a website, they essentially grant you permission to access their system and content. They will require you to review the Terms of Service and agree to be bound by their terms.
Furthermore, if you are a free member, it’s possible that the webmaster of this type of website may also require you to sign an additional agreement before providing their service even though you are free to view their content. But there is always a catch and it’s that although they want you to review the Terms of Service and agree to be bound by them, it does not mean that they will adhere to the conditions stated in your agreement with them. They may have a few conditions in their TOS that you agree to and sign off on, but they never really mean it.
There are quite a few reasons why someone may want to violate the terms of service of the webmaster, but there is generally something else at play besides what it states in their rules. They may say that you cannot use automated software to retrieve content from their site and post it elsewhere, but it probably is not illegal to do so under US Copyright Law.
Copyright law does protect the way a web host’s site is designed, but does not protect the content in any way. This is why you cannot use automated software such as an RSS feed reader to access their content and then post it on other Internet sites without their knowledge. But you can still access their website using an RSS client and retrieve the information manually.
The content may consist of images, videos, articles or any other data and then post it elsewhere. For example, you can use an RSS reader to retrieve their content and then republish it on your own blog site. That does not make it illegal under U.S. Copyright Law.
The Terms of Service for webmasters is just a statement about what they consider to be their content and whether you can reprint or quote their material in full or in part with a hyperlink back to the source (which is them).
If this is a class action lawsuit, there will be quite a few people who may not understand the legal implications. You should not let your agreement with them expire without reviewing their TOS to ensure that you are still in compliance with their terms.