If you’re planning to start a blog or are in the initial stages, there are a few things you need to look into on the legal side. A lot of this you can do yourself, but if you are tight for time some lawyers provide a template for this, or you can also look at other businesses who sell similar products to yours in your country to have an idea what they have on their site to protect them legally.
The use of images
When writing your posts, you cannot use any images you find on the internet. This is other people’s intellectual property and content. There are sites you can use to get free images but always check the rules around permission for using the images. Sites like stock.xchng and Getty images are some examples where you can find free images without copyright issues. There will be a licence that comes with the images so when you pick the images just take a look at that. Do not sell the pictures or redistribute them, avoid using pictures where you can see people clearly or a brand name clearly. Depending what you’re using the picture for it can become defamatory. Stick to the blogging laws around images to keep you in line with good blogging practices.
If you’re using your own images, you can watermark your images and use the copyright symbol to protect your intellectual property. This blogging law will help you stay out of court.
Look at the blogging laws for your country. Below are just a few that comes to mind.
- CAN-SPAM Act
- California Online Protection Act (CalOPPA),
- Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA),
- Federal Trade Commission (FTC),
- EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
Make it clear that you are not collecting information of children under the age of thirteen, how you’re using the contact details you’re receiving and how you store them.
Some of examples of personal information people collect are:
- Credit card information
- Phone number
- Email address
- Bank details
- Date of Birth
- Email address
Using your own words
This blogging law is to protect your own words, intellectual property and a lot of artists even use copyright to protect their work. The best way to protect your words on your blog is to use the copyright symbol to assert the ownership of your content. Copyright laws protect the original content creator’s idea.
When you produce high-quality posts, your readers know that they cannot use your work. You might get people asking for permission to use your work crediting it back to you, and you will have others who will link your site to theirs. This is good, as you will get direct traffic coming to your site.
Be wary of what you’re using from other people’s content and if you really want to use it, ask them directly.
When it comes to music and song lyrics, the same laws apply.
This blogging law protects you from anything that might appear like advice that you’re giving on your blog. Having a disclaimer is a legal statement which protects you from being liable to what might seem as advice given on your blog.
To get your statement that is correct for your blog or website you can type on the Google search engine the following:
examples of disclaimers or disclaimer examples
Pick which one is best for what you’re doing and modify it.
Blog terms and conditions
If you are selling products on your blog posts, stipulate the refund and exchange policies.
If you are an artist (writer or musician), you can stipulate the terms and conditions around your images, lyrics and music, especially if you’ve had joint projects. For example, if you’ve worked with Warner Bros and they’ve provided some imagery or videos, this can be stipulated to the audience that this is the property of Warner Bros.
Blog defamation lawsuit
If in your posts, you have used slander or libel you can be sued. If these statements have affected a person’s or company’s reputation, this could become a legal issue.
Be clear about affiliate relationships
Explain your relationships with your links when it comes to your affiliates. A disclosure for this helps you legally and tells your readers that you make commission from a third-party if they purchase a product from your link. Mention the percentage of the commission you receive. The disclosure should be part of the disclaimer.
Declare taxes with the money you make through blogging
You would need to register your company or yourself as self-employed with the taxman if you are making money through affiliate marketing or if you’re planning to sell your own products on your website.