Do you recall “Blogging” as only fun and convenient and happy ALL THE TIME?
Yeah, me neither!
Blogging requires your creative effort (which is mostly fun to come up with) but there are some areas in blogging that just straight up messes up with my sanity.
Legal stuff is one of them!
Legal stuff? I have a small blog earning a side income, my blog doesn’t need legal stuff!
Even though you started a blog as just a hobby or a creative outlet to earn in your free time,
In the eyes of the law, your blog is a business and you WILL need to learn how to legally protect your blog with legal pages to ensure that you don’t get sued.
For example –
The good ol’ FTC
In the United States, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is responsible to hold and protect the rights of consumers.
Whether you receive a commission from any affiliate or sponsorship program, flat fee payment, free products or discounts in exchange for promoting a product in a blog post or any video, the FTC rule requires you to properly disclose your relationship.
Meaning, you have to tell your audience that you’re getting a commission for that particular endorsement.
If you don’t, you or the business you’re promoting could get slapped with fines which are pretty stressful and expensive.
Why do you have to legally protect your blog?
To protect you from very expensive and hectic lawsuits. Lawsuits are pretty scary, time-consuming and are expensive. Ain’t nobody got time and money for that.
You’ll need legal pages on your blog to –
1: Be On The Right Side Of Law
Many bloggers make the mistake of assuming that legal pages are optional on their blog (especially new bloggers)
However, that is not the case.
Some new bloggers often neglect this aspect of their blog. Don’t make this mistake because just like any other violation of law, you could face fines and lawsuits for not abiding by the legal requirement. So why take any chances to lose money or your valuable time?
2: To Avoid content & Identity theft
If you are in the blogging business, know one thing for sure, “Others WILL steal your content!“. And this happens a lot more frequently than you think!
Let’s have a perfect PERSONAL example – The very first image is from my own blog which is originally written (or basically typed) by me.
The below image is s screenshot of someone else’s blog (whose website name I am not going to expose ) which has the full copy of my original blog content, word to word, nothing was edited, just copied and pasted on his/her blog.
And the person even mentioned the original source of the content (How considerate!) which still does not make it an “Okay” thing to do!
See, it is okay to hunt ideas from other’s blogs but copying full content is considered as content theft (Not cool!). Your blogs are the creative property of your own others cannot use it and possibly make money from it! (unless you’re okay with it). This is called Copyright!
Copyrights are the legal system that protects various creative works across all businesses. Copyrights give the creators of the work control over the copying, reuse, selling, etc. of their original work product.
Your own blog content or any original work, such as your photos or graphics in general, from the moment they are published, are automatically copyright protected even without you formally filing anything for that content protection.
Even though you have that automatic protection, it’s always a good idea to remind others of your copyright rights over your hard-worked product, and you aren’t (or are) okay with others taking and using your work without your permission.
If it has come to your attention that someone has stolen your content, you can always take proper action against these offenders by filing what is known as a DCMA takedown notice. DCMA stands for Digital Millenium Copyright Act and it is a U.S. Copyright law that protects your intellectual property.
3: To Deny Personal Liability
You can be held liable for a number of reasons. A reader could potentially do something after reading one of your blogs that causes a physical injury. They may suffer from financial or physical losses from a product you recommend.
For example- If you have a health and fitness blog, and someone had a health-harming reaction after consuming the products you recommend, that person might case a lawsuit against you for misleading.
Having a proper Disclaimer page on your website is crucial to shield you from such lawsuits.
Required Legal Pages That You Need In Your Website
Every blog needs at least the following three legal pages and NO NO NO, you CANNOT COPY someone else’s legal pages under the law unless you want to be sued for copyright infringement.
If you are affiliated with any organizations and are compensated for affiliate links or other promotions, you must inform your readers.
You are running a legitimate business, so it is important to be transparent with your audience.
Again, if one of your affiliate products causes any physical or financial damage in someone’s life, they might sue you for giving out false advice/recommendations. In your legal disclaimer, you will need to remove yourself from any liability associated with the affiliate products you’re promoting.
If I give my name and email address to you (maybe in the comment section or in the email signup form), I should have the right to know what you are going to do with that information, how it will be used and in what circumstances will you disclose my personal information to the third parties.
Personal data may include (but not limited to) –
- Email Address
- Credit Card detail (if you buy something from that website)
- Cookies (from the device you’re using the internet)
If you collect any of the above info, you need to tell your readers what info you collect, how you collect it and what you do with that information very briefly.
3: Terms And Conditions
You can think of terms and conditions as the “Basic rules” of your blog and how to use your blog.
This is where you tell your blog/website readers what type of behavior is acceptable in this website (like not passing offensive comments) – both by you as the website owner and actions by visitors or readers of your site.
Having a comprehensive Terms and Conditions on your website legitimizes your business and protects you from all kinds of potential legal issues that may occur later.
Here’s a million dollar question-
How to obtain the above (Legit) Legal Pages for your blog?
Well… You have three ways to obtain legal pages –
1: Either you can hire a lawyer and pay her/him $2000 to get it custom made.
NOPE! Hard Pass!
2: OR Get it free from websites that offer free templates. But the problem here is, you get what you pay for buddy! So if you’re getting it for free then don’t expect it to be 100% legit. It may have numerous anomalies which you’ll only find when you’re in trouble because of that.
In this case, the only thing you can do is hope that you don’t get into any trouble.
3: The third (best and least expensive) way is to get it from Legal Bundle. Amira, Lawyer by profession has personally taken the time to draft each template herself based on her experiences as both a lawyer and a blogger.
Her legal bundle includes all 3 of the legal pages that you need for your blog: which are
- Terms and Condition
Paid legal templates offer you the benefit (and of course, with the peace of mind) of professionally written legal pages by an actual lawyer yet only at a fraction of the cost for having to personally hire a lawyer.
The Legal Bundle is the best deal because it comes with a huge discount, saving you tons of time, money and agony.
So is your blog 100% legal?
If not, then you better do something about it. It is Better to be Safe Than Sorry, you know!