OwnTerms: Legal Templates for the Rest of Us

September 11, 2007

Creative Commons, the group that brought intellectual property licensing to the masses, has recently spun off a new group - OwnTerms. The new effort is "intended as a clearinghouse for Creative Commons-licensed stock legal documents. Documents like web site terms and conditions, speaker contracts, simple web design contracts and so on."

If you've ever worked day and night to launch your new Web application only to break out in a cold sweat when discovering you need Terms of Service and Privacy Policy documents, OwnTerms may be just what you've been waiting for.

In the brief time OwnTerms has been in operation they've already added two new templates: Speaker Agreement and Audio-Visual Recording Release. These are works in progress and are community-editable - Wikipedia-style.

Good legal advice costs money, and I doubt OwnTerms suggests that you can now fire your lawyer. On the other hand, many law firms operate on a model of redistributing, customizing and supporting their own firms' legal templates. At the very least, having a template in hand can provide a more productive beginning your next legal conversation.