Websites have allowed for the virtual facilitation of basic needs and have taken dating and relationships to a whole new level. These sites promise to make the “dating game” easy, comfortable, and convenient for their users. Promises to match you with the perfect partner and to increase the longevity of your personal relationships make online dating seem too good to be true. But what happens when this utopia of personal interaction comes crashing down?
The first section of the report will dissect each individual clause from both documents and simplify them to explain what they mean and why the company chose to include the provisions. This will create a thorough understanding of what is included in the agreement. Next, the legal principles that have been discussed in the Business Law course will be expressly linked to the user agreement in order to establish the connection between contractual agreements and an individual’s responsibilities, risks and duties once the contract is signed.
In addition, various recommendations regarding the use of the site as well as lessons learned from the completion of this paper will be offered in detail, with an example of a scenario explaining the role of the contract when things go wrong. Finally, a list of corrective measures that can be applied to improve the protection offered by the contract to the company and to clarify limitations on the service will be outlined.
Thus, this paper will serve as a tool to better understand the contractual relationship between people and online services, as well as how companies protect themselves from any risks that may arise as a result of such relationships. II Introduction Overview and Objectives: In order to achieve success in the world of business, a firm grasp of the fundamental principles of the law is crucial, not only to conduct business in he present but also to forecast and prepare for risks in the future.
The purpose of this paper is to perform a clausal analysis of the content of a user agreement from an online dating site, in order to understand the importance of contractual relationships in a business setting, and to link the key legal principles to the contract The goal is to achieve a thorough understanding of the role that such contracts play in commerce and the risks associated with entering into contractual relationships. The main objectives are to explain, in detail, a breakdown of the user agreement of the chosen dating site and to mind any legal issues within the wording or aims of the agreement.
Essentially, this means that the paper seeks to identify and rectify any concerns that could lead to a legal dispute. Also, another objective would be to link the content of the agreement to the basic legal principles in order to apply the conceptual knowledge of the course to a real life situation regarding the online relationships facilitated by the dating service. Methodology: In order to achieve the above goals, several steps were carried out. First, various online dating sites were considered and narrowed down to three Seibel choices: Raymond, Match. Mom, and Christian Mingle. Three ideas were brought forth regarding which site to analyses in order to determine which sites could potentially hold more issues and which site had sufficient content to be analyzed effectively. Next in the process, Raymond was chosen as the site that would be the target for analysis. Raymond is a very popular dating site and is well known due to their numerous infomercials and online advertisements and thus presents a great opportunity to examine the elements involved in a formal and well-designed user agreement.
In addition, an examination of the actual purpose and requirements of the assignment was carried out. In this particular phase of the paper, the course outline was reviewed and the outline of the paper was scrutinized, while the main objectives, purpose, and necessary content were identified. Also, questions for the professor were prepared such as an inquiry into the differences between an executive summary and an introduction as well as what the best method of applying course material to the term paper would be. A rough outline and schedule was established as a subsequent step.
The paper was broken down into its individual sections, such as Executive Summary, Introduction, Clause Analysis, Application of Principles, Lessons Learned, and Corrective Measures and each part was assigned a time frame in which it was to be completed. The time line consists of deadlines for each section and its components and acts as a rough draft of the paper itself. Once a general concept of what the paper would look like was obtained, the actual process of formally writing the paper commenced. Key points from the outline/rough draft were expanded on in the body of the report.
The executive summary and introduction were added first, allowing for further arrangement and planning for the papers progression of ideas. Successively, the analysis and explanation of the clauses form the agreement were conducted. Each clause was explained in a simplified manner in great detail. The process involved going over each clause from the agreement and simply rewording, explaining and justifying each clause. Notes on the previously identified clauses where legal issues existed were also included. The next phase involved the application of all the legal principles from the course to the term paper.
Starting from the first lecture and using the course textbook for clarification, each of the legal topics covered throughout the semester were linked to the main theme of the paper: contractual relationships in the world of online dating. Finally, the lessons learned from completing the term paper as well as recommendations to remedy the legal issues in some of the clauses were identified. Taking each of the clauses identified as having a potential issue, inconsistency or ambiguities were discussed and a solution to each problem was given.
Fictitious examples of how a problem could manifest itself as a result of the clauses were also explained in this final phase. Business Relationship: The concepts covered in this report as well as the concept of a contractual agreement that outlines liabilities, responsibilities and duties is inextricably linked to the modern business environment. Such documentation is essential in order to provide a guideline of how to handle issues when they arise in business practices. Business owners must be able to expect the unexpected and be able to create a sort of contingency in the event that things go wrong.
As a result, they must be prepared to deal with these events and have proper procedures in place. The documentation also acts as an “insurance policy’ in the sense that it explicitly states the responsibilities and risks associated with product or service. This allows the company to avoid being penalized or to suffer unnecessary losses because the customer or user was made fully aware of the risks associated with the service or product, and of the responsibilities they take on as a result of their purchase or membership decision.
The ability off company to understand and implement such a system is essential for any business to succeed and will prevent unnecessary hardships that have real potential to sink a business indefinitely. In addition to covering the assets of the business, documentation and explanation of hat a product or service entails is crucial to the consumer as well. The business has a responsibility on its own to inform the customer of issues relating to privacy and use of the customer’s personal information etc. This ensures that the business does not violate any legal doctrines regarding the safety and security of customer information.
Non-personally identifiable information a. The second Category is the total information that does not reveal the identity of the individual user b. This clause is included to protect the company from users who make claims against the company due to breach of privacy or illegal use of personal information. 4. ) “How we collect and use information” a. The clause outlines the processes through which Raymond collects the woo categories of information and how it intends to use the information it collects.
This is included to cover the company by indicating that the user is aware of the collection and use of information by Raymond, thus aiding in rehearing’s defense if a dispute should arise. i. There are eleven different processes and uses of any users information within Raymond and can be outlined as: 1. Log files refer to any information that is collected about the customer once they log into the Raymond website. This includes but IS not limited to Internet Protocol addresses, Interment Service Providers, the
Internet browser used to find Raymond such as Internet Explorer or Google Chrome etc. , the number of clicks the user makes while on the company’s site. The clause then explains that the company intends to use this information to analyze user trends, provide the dating service, avert fraudulent activity, to track general user movement through the website and to gather demographic information about individual users. An example of such information collection and its application IS provided as well. 2. Cookies are used to track user’s activity whilst using the site.
Information about you is collected by Raymond in a variety of ways. With the Single’s service, Raymond takes information that the user provides through the initial set of questionnaires that the user must complete in order to join the site. The answers to the questionnaire are voluntary and are used to create the user’s profile for other users to see. However, Raymond explicitly states under this clause that the company does not allow other users to see personally identifiable information and that the information is completely confidential.
The clause also discusses the use of photos videos. Once photos are volunteered to Raymond, they can be shared with users of Raymond services and are kibbles to others using the websites. 5. Purchase information is collected by Raymond, including name, address, phone number, email address and credit card number. Raymond then states that the company only uses this information to process orders or for some other identified reason. Note that this other purpose is not spelled out in the clause.
The clause then explains that the transactions are very well secured through the use of secure socket layer (SSL) which is standard, as well as a third party installed security system, who also have access to your information but only for the purpose of securing your information from malicious software and users. 6. Emails and telephone calls are monitored by Raymond once users join. This section of the clause explains that once the user verifies their email address and phone number, Raymond is able to not only send the user emails and telephone calls, but also is able to track what the user does with the sent emails from the company.
Email and telephone information is used for registration as well as site promotion. The receiving of promotional emails and calls can be stopped by following the directions provided in the clause. Finally, a line dating that the company’s practices regarding emails and telephone information is in full compliance with the United States CAN SPAM act. 7. Demographic data is also collected by Raymond for the purpose of tailoring the site to suit user preferences and is provide to advertisers etc. Information provided to advertisers is strictly non-identifiable. 8.
Online survey data is within the rights of Raymond to be collected and utilized. This clause States that they are entitled to collect the information users enter into the company online surveys in order to improve the site for users. In addition, voluntary rivers are offered randomly and any restrictions or legal implications will be provided to users. The clause also states that Raymond will not link the information from surveys to personally identifiable information and the customer is not required to answer survey questions as they are purely voluntary. . Information regarding your friends is openly encouraged under this section of the agreement. The company requests that current users recommend the site to friends by providing Raymond with the name and contact information of the friend, which will be stored in the company’s records for future use. A one-time email offer will then be sent to the designated friend. The clause also states that by agreeing to the contract, the user agrees not to abuse the feature by providing the information of someone they know is not interested in using Raymond services.
The inclusion fifths clause is primarily to notify the public that Raymond holds the right to disclose any of its collected information to certain parties under specific circumstances and at its own discretion. It is included to protect the company from being prosecuted for sharing personal information without consent. B. Disclosure by law clause i. The body of this section explains that by signing the agreement, the user acknowledges the fact that Raymond is able to disclose any information provided by the user if Raymond is required to do so by law.
This is true for both requests made from independent parties outside of the company as well as the event that Raymond decides that it is necessary to provide certain information in order to adhere to the law, requests of legal enforcers or by some other legal process, to protect the rights of Raymond or the rights Of the third party involved, and finally, to protect the health and safety of another. The example of threats facilitated by the site is given in the clause as well. C. Disclosure to protect abuse victims i.
The information contained in this particular clause states that despite the guidelines of other sections of the agreement, Raymond can, but is not obligated to, provide information to the proper authority in the event that the company believes or sees reason to believe that the information contains evidence that a person has been or is currently being abused in any way. A list of the different types of abuse covered by the clause is also included and ranges from elderly abuse to domestic violence.
The proper authorities are also defined and listed and a statement verifying that the user understands hat by agreeing to the policy, they permit the disclosure of such information in the future and acknowledge the right of Raymond to do so. D. Disclosure to trusted third parties by Raymond i. An explicit statement that the company holds the right to disclose information to third parties at its own discretion is provided here. Such information include personally and non-personally identifiable information in the event that the third party is an associate of Raymond and carries out functions on the company’s behalf.
This is including the ability of these third parties to use such information as email addresses etc. o contact the user for their own promotional purposes. However the user is entitled to deny such notifications on their own email settings or through the subsequent “opt out” section of the agreement. E. Disclosure of information to third parties at the user’s request i. This clause simply describes the option available to users that in the event that the user chooses to respond to the accepted third party advertisements or promotions, they can do so independently or through Raymond. Harmony states that it will facilitate the transfer of personal information to the third party but does not take responsibility for any images, dissatisfaction or defects in the services or products purchased from the third parties. F. Information transferred as a result of sale of business i. This particular clause refers to the event of the company being bought by another business. If this were to occur, the user’s personal information could be considered part of the assets of Raymond and therefore could be sold as part of the deal with the purchasing company.
The clause is notifying the individual that by agreeing to the contract they accept this fact. 6. ) Third party advertising a. Under this provision, the agreement outlines the fact that Raymond sites allows third party advertisers to utilize cookies and web beacons to track ad effectiveness and personal information gathered is completely anonymous, therefore complying with the rest of the privacy agreement. The company also states that it will only provide information to third party advertisers under the conditions and for the uses listed above.
The clause is included to clearly identify who is liable for any negative consequences that may OCCUr as a result of users utilizing the third party advertisements that appear on the site. Also, it is to protect the company from being accused of personal information theft or misuse. 7. ) Age restrictions a. There is a standard age requirement that stands across all Raymond agreements and anyone under the age limit is denied access due to legal restrictions in the jurisdiction of California law enforcement. If a user is suspected of being underage and forges date of birth, the company holds the right to terminate the membership.
This clause is important it identifies that there is a legal as well as ethical obligation of Raymond to abide by legal age restriction in its immediate area of legal jurisdiction and it protects the company from being accused of age discrimination. . ) rarity a. An outline of the high security measures taken to secure user information in the company databases is provided in this section. However, the clause also says that because information over the Internet can never be one hundred percent secure, there is always a risk of the misuse, abuse or alteration of personal information and accept no liability for such events f they occur.
The user agrees to this by signing the contract. This is included to shift liability for any damages resulting from security breaches to the user. Raymond makes no assurance of total safety and therefore cannot be held accountable if such risks should materialize. 9. ) Retention and storage of user information a. The company has included the idea that they have the right to retain information for as long as it takes for the intended purpose of such information to be fulfilled. Simply put, they hold the right to keep records of user information for the duration of membership and after the user leaves. Harmony can and will store information out of province and out of the users country of residence. This clause is included to simply cover Raymond in the event that users are uncomfortable with their information being shipped round the country via the internet for anyone to see. Reasonable assurance is given to the user that their information is safe and the fact that the user has been informed of such transportations and storage of information keeps Raymond safe from any legal dispute claims that could arise. 10. ) Links to other sites a.
In this section, the document is identified as the legal agreement between the user and Raymond. A brief verification of who and where Raymond is, is laid out here, and a warning to users who do not agree with the terms of service to cease using the service. It is important to note that the last line of this clause is stating that the company holds the right to change the terms of service at any time and at their complete discretion. It also states that the intended use of the service is the indication that the terms have been agreed to. . ) Eligibility: the eligibility clause is included to set guidelines for who is allowed to join the service, as well as to protect the company from discrimination claims. A. In this section, the criteria that users must meet in order to become members of the Raymond service is expressed in detail. A minimum age is established at eighteen years in Canada, and older in some jurisdictions. B. A required marital status is also set to protect users. Users who join must not be bound by marriage in order to take advantage of the service.