Blogging laws

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.

Having a privacy policy

A lot of countries have a privacy policy law; for example, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) is used in the EU. If you’re selling on your website and obtaining information from people, you are required to have a privacy policy on your website where people can opt-in or out giving you consent to use their data. Whether or not you’re making money out of your blog and are collecting information on their while building your lists, you will have to have a privacy policy. Also, if you’re tracking using cookies for your visitors, you’d need to mention this on your privacy policy.

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:

  • Names
  • Credit card information
  • Phone number
  • Email address
  • Bank details
  • Date of Birth
  • Email address

The fine for not clearly outlining your privacy policy and complying to the law is 4% of a company’s annual revenue. In the past companies were misusing people’s data, and there was loads of spamming. This blogging law has came into effect in May 2018, and many company’s had to wipe out their old history to some extent to become compliant.

Blogging laws

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.

Disclaimer

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.

Blogging laws

Blog terms and conditions

This blogging law requires you to outline the terms of use. This states what visitors can and cannot do on your blog. You would need to define them and what you consider as lawful and how you resolve disputes.

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.

Blogging laws

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.

To read more articles about blogging, you can visit  https://why-blog.com/ or https://blogbenefits.com/ or https://yourblogcontent.com/

Mark Ford