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Sample Acceptable Use Policy

An AUP doesn't have to be full of imposing legalese to be useful. Here's a sample from before the dawn of time. Please note that the legal climate has changed considerably since then.

Z O R C H --- SF Bay Public-Access Unix

Last revision: Mon Sep 9 1991

Zorch provides access to Unix at the shell level to registered users. The available facilities can be used without restriction by all users. In support of this, some policies must be followed by everyone.

1) If a user commits an intentionally destructive act, such as posting credit card account numbers, the account will be revoked.

2) Posting chain letters, invitations to join in pyramid or ponzi schemes, and similar notices, is a violation of US Postal Service regulations and is a fraudulent act. Such actions are sufficient grounds for account closure.

3) Any attempt to violate system integrity by breaking system security, or any attempt to alter or destroy data belonging to another user will cause revocation of the offending account. The account owner will be held responsible for all uses of his/her account.

4) Storing illegally obtained information of any sort, such as source code belonging to a specific vendor, is grounds for account revocation.

5) Persistent abuse of other users of the system, or of the owners of the system, will cause the account to be revoked.

6) Non-payment of account will cause account access to be denied. You will be billed by electronic mail on the first of the month. You have a 10-day grace period from the first to send in your payment. If your account remains unpaid for 30 days, it will be removed from the system. US Mail billing is an option for accounts paid in advance for 6 months or more.

In accord with the provisions of the Electronic Communication Privacy Act, the owners of Zorch will regard files stored within the home directory of each user as private information. Likewise, electronic mailboxes and communications in transit will be considered private. Files stored in public directory areas may be inspected and modified or removed at the owners' discretion. In cases where the owners believe that illegal data is stored in a private account, the account will be searched only upon presentation of a valid warrant by a law officer. To insure privacy of confidential information, Unix provides facilities to protect files and directories, as well as utilities to encrypt and decrypt data; persons concerned with obtaining maximal privacy are advised to avail themselves of those facilities.

Zorch provides access to the worldwide computer network called Usenet. There are several thousand systems on the network, and several hundred thousand users with network access. Since there is such a great diversity of people on the network, there is no attempt to enforce a common viewpoint or moral standard on the whole network. Therefore, there are topical discussion groups on many religious, political, sexual and lifestyle issues that a potential network participant might find offensive in nature. Due to the voluntary nature of newsgroup participation, and in the spirit of cooperation that is the basis of Usenet, Zorch carries almost all newsgroups without regard to specific content of each. Because of this, we make no guarantee that the material available on Zorch will not be found offensive to any given individual.

This section was reasonable in 1990, when BBS systems were being confiscated left and right because of postings made by their users. This might still be reasonable for a company site. Consult your attorney for more advice.

All postings made from Zorch are monitored. We will not prevent any normal posting from going out, but reserve the right to cancel postings containing any clearly illegal material, and we will close your account. Furthermore, if we detect you creating a forged news posting from Zorch, even though the activity is not strictly illegal, we will revoke your account.

Since Zorch is a business, and has a public reputation to maintain, your account may be revoked and the balance of your subscription fee refunded if we receive significant complaints about your network behavior. Two complaints would not be significant, and a hundred probably would be; we reserve the right to make our determination based on the exact circumstances at the time.

Zorch has no pre-set limits on disk usage or connect time; however, abuse of either will be detected and we will send you a request to desist. If you persist in this sort of abusive behavior, your account will be closed.

Zorch is a privately owned system, run by the owners on a hobbyist basis. While we feel that this will not detract from the quality of service that we can provide, be aware that we will be responding to problems and questions on an as-available basis rather than on an on-demand basis. Also, the physical hardware for Zorch is an older supermicro, and while we have access to spares for some parts, getting replacements for the others can take some time, during which Zorch would be down and unavailable. Donations of ISI-020 parts will be gratefully accepted.

Scott Hazen Mueller / E-mail me