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Web site terms of use have taken center stage with the recent press reports of the indictment of Lori Drew by a Los Angeles federal grand jury for violating the federal Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, 18 U.S.C. 1030. Drew, 49, is charged with breaching MySpace’s terms of service by tormenting and harassing a 13-year-old girl who, as a result, committed suicide. Terms of use, like those predicating the Drew prosecution, are ubiquitous on the Internet. They are created by a Web site owner and purport to restrict how the public can use a Web site to obtain information, purchase goods or services or participate in Web-based social networking.

What is not readily apparent from the Drew case is that it is not just the U.S. Department of Justice that can employ the CFAA to enforce a Web site’s terms of use. The CFAA also provides for a civil remedy for companies victimized by violations of the statute, §1030(g). This article examines how Web site terms of use, in conjunction with the CFAA, provide broad legal protections to companies and their Web site users.

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