Rooftop publishes many kinds of legal content to protect ourselves and our users around the world. This section gives a general overview of the types of legal content we publish and how those documents are written.
For information about laws that apply to non-legal content, see the Copyright and trademark section.
The way we write, review, and publish legal content is different than how we do many other kinds of writing at Rooftop. The most important difference is that all legal content either starts with or passes through the Legal team.
But that doesn't mean legal content has to be difficult to read. We try to present our legal information in the most pleasant way possible. Our goals for Rooftop's legal content are:
We publish several types of legal documents, each with their own writing processes and goals.
We keep these in one place on our legal page:
These policies apply to all of Rooftop's users. We work together to make them as transparent and easy to read as possible. When someone signs up to use Rooftop, they must agree to all of those terms.
All of our public legal documents, and any changes to those documents, are drafted by our in-house Legal team. When new legal documents are published or edited, we notify all our users of the updates and provide a window for them to object before the new terms go into effect.
Occasionally we may have to publish communications about security, privacy, and other corporate issues. This could come in the form of an email to users, a blog post, a public statement, or a press release.
The Communications team works with the Legal team to write and publish these documents, and the executive team reviews them.
When writing legal content, generally follow the style points outlined in the Voice and tone and Grammar and mechanics sections. Here are some more general considerations, too.
We have some standard language that we use for common issues or requests, but since legal content is so fact-specific, we start there before getting into structure and format. That’s why you won’t see many templates for our legal content.
Legal content is serious business, so the tone is slightly more formal than most of our content. That said, we want all of our users to be able to understand our legal content. So whenever possible, we use plain language rather than legal jargon.
We say: “If you sign up on behalf of a company or other entity, you represent and warrant that you have the authority to accept these Terms on their behalf.”
There are some legal terms we have to include because either there’s not a sufficient plain language alternative, or case law or statute dictates that term has to be used for the contract to hold up in court. For example, sometimes we need to say “represent and warrant” instead of “confirm” or “agree.” If we use those terms, we can provide an example or quick definition to help people understand what they’re reading. We can't avoid all legal terminology, but we can pare it down to what's necessary.
Some companies have complicated terms and write plain-language summaries so people can understand the agreement. We don’t summarize our legal content, but instead try to write the terms themselves in plain language. We use a sidebar to provide examples or links to further reading for people who want more context.
Using plain language for the terms you define up front can make legal documents easier to read. You’ve probably read contracts that say something like “The Corporation” or “The User” throughout, instead of “we” (meaning the company) and “you” (meaning the user who is agreeing to the terms). There’s a quick fix for that. At the beginning of the document, say something like:
After that, you’re free to use “we,” “us,” “you,” and “your” throughout the rest of the agreement. That simple change makes the document much friendlier to read.
We use contractions in many of our legal documents, which makes them sound more human and flow better with the rest of our content. Contracting words doesn't affect the validity of an agreement.
While we want to inform our users about legal issues related to their use of Rooftop, we can’t offer them legal advice. Sometimes it’s a fine line. The legal department will check for this in their content review.