An acceptable use policy is a policy document governing the use of something, specifying what is and is not acceptable in relation to that something.
We supply a selection of different template policies, available here: acceptable use policy.
Acceptable use policies are commonly used in relation to websites. They may apply to a particular feature of a website – for example, an internet forum or a blog comment feature may be subject to a policy. Indeed, any web application that allows users to post content should have some kind of rules governing posting.
Another common function of an acceptable use policy is to regulate employees’ use of the internet and email in the workplace.
The main part of an acceptable use policy will typically take the form of a list of general and specific prohibitions. General prohibitions might cover such matters as:
- unlawful / illegal use
- use that is liable to offend or upset others
- use contrary to contextually relevant standards of behaviour
Specific prohibitions might cover:
- infringements of copyright and other intellectual property rights
- libellous and slanderous publications
- usage exceeding resource allocations
Some policies specify the consequences of a user breaching the terms of the policy.
Acceptable use policies are sometimes called “acceptable usage policies” or simply “AUPs”. As well as being used as free-standing documents, policies may be incorporated into larger documents.