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Can I go ahead and copy TOS & Privacy from any other website and change as per my requirement?

Will it come under "copied" material and can it affect my Adsense approval application later?

Also will it escape duplicate content penalty by all search engines? I think most of people must be generating from some templates.

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3 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

TOS & Privacy are still copyrighted to the legitimate owner, so direct copying would be illegal.

You can, and it's a good idea however, to use them as reference sources when writing your own, to make sure you have covered all the main points.

Be aware though, without a trained professional (lawyer), you can never know if the terms you have written are binding, and cover all necessary eventualities.

My advice would be to contact the site owner, and ask if you can use it.

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Even if the website owner consents it, will Adsense or the search engines forgive me for "copying" it. Adsense people will not let us know the reason of rejection. It means safer side I should reword it. –  AgA Apr 13 '11 at 13:29
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@John, when you say safer, you need to gauge what safety is more important, actual legal coverage, or duplicate content on something no one reads? If you are worried about duplicate content, make sure robots.txt doesn't index it and you should be totally fine :) –  Tom Gullen Apr 13 '11 at 13:34
    
Also almost of websites use some template to generate those text. So duplicacy of TOS & Privacy should be omnipresent. I don't know how search engines take care of this. I can ask any other site owner to use "their" TOS. But how do I tell this to the search engines. Moreover for checking duplicacy search engines can ignore robots.txt. Only that they will not index the page in robots. –  AgA Apr 14 '11 at 10:00
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No you can't just copy another web site's TOS & Privacy policy. It has been created by someone else (probably by an expensive lawyer) and hence, like other content, is copyrighted.

Try adapting a template such as this from the UK's Business Link service: http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/bdotg/action/detail?itemId=1076142085&type=RESOURCES

Don't worry about duplicate content in this instance. Do worry about copyright. :-)

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It depends on just how much you change it. If you just change the name of the website then that's bound to be classified as "copied". I would rewrite the whole thing in your own words.

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Even if I write of my own, I'll try to reuse for my other websites too. Again same duplicate content will come into picture. –  AgA Apr 14 '11 at 9:54
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