A Legal Guide For Bloggers: How To Make Your Blog Legally Ready!
Everything might be fair in love and war, but not in blogging! There are millions of blogs on the internet talking about trillions of things. But somewhere or the other we do come across certain legal complaints being filed on bloggers. To keep you safe from unwanted legal hassle, we present you this legal guide for bloggers.
We have seen various complaints on bloggers, such as a copyright violation, defaming allegations, privacy violations, and so on. Most of these complaints are due to the fact that the blogger is absolutely unaware about the legal aspect of his or her work.
So how do you keep your blog safe from getting banned, as well as yourself from getting jailed? Chill, here is a legal guide for bloggers, that will surely help all kinds of bloggers to keep themselves away from the legal stress. Check it out!
Legal Guide For Bloggers: Consequences
So before getting started with the do’s and dont’s of the legal aspect of blogging, let’s get enlightened about the possible case types that can create some serious consequences for a blogger, if things get too dizzy.
1. Privacy Fragmentation
Privacy simply means confidentiality and a state of being not disturbed. All around the world the privacy issues is now a serious matter. There is an old saying “Internet has brought us all together”, but a bit too much it seems.
Cases have been witnessed in which private organizations, as well as government & political agencies have misused private information of the masses in order to win elections, sell their products, customize their advertisement campaigns, and so on.
Privacy laws differ in various countries. For a blogger, not violating someone’s privacy should be a serious concern. And specially for those who blog about certain personalities and their lifestyles. If a blogger is quoting some statements from someone, or writing facts about a person, it becomes a must-do the duty of a blogger to not get into violating someone’s private affairs.
If you have a blog following famous celebrities or known personalities, you could face serious privacy allegations. You can also face such allegations and the consequences if your blogs has published inappropriate images and videos of any person.
2. Defaming Allegations
One of the most seen and sensitive areas of concern is of defaming allegations. Defaming, as the name suggests, is described as “ to damage the reputation of a person or a group by saying or writing bad things about them that are not true” on Cambridgedictionary.com.
You have to make sure that everything you state as a fact and everything you quote, has to be genuine and correct. Many cases have been witnessed where the blogger actually didn’t aimed at defaming a certain person, but due to their incomplete research, they end up getting sued for defaming.
3. Media Protection Laws
Almost all the countries in the world have some or the other terms and conditions in forms of laws. In this era of social media, everyone has got a platform to express their point of views and media content. To make such platforms free from inappropriate media and violating text, media protection laws have to be taken into consideration.
Bloggers using social media or any other online platform need to recheck their content again and again before publishing so as to keep themselves safe from legal issues.
4. Copyright Protection
You can’t copy everything or anything on the internet. You might have seen the copyright symbols on many logos and content on different websites and webpages. Those are not just for beautification.
Copyright laws are there in many countries all around the world, that protect unauthorized copying and stealing of private content.
A blogger must keep its sources verified. Copying without the respective concerns is a crime.
Legal Guide For Bloggers: What is Copyright?
Getting to know the do’s and dont’s of the legal aspects of blogging requires you to do a deep dive into what is the most famous practise of online legal security, “Copyright”.
Copyright is actually a legal right to copy or copyright a work. Anyone with the copyrights of something can actually do editing, improvements and create copies of that item as much as he/she wants.
Basically it protects an original work from getting copied. Many countries have special laws to prevent copying and to give legal copyrights, such as The Copyright Act of 1976 in the United States.
Let’s understand the concept of Copyright and copyright infringement with a real life example. Famous writer J.K. Rowling and Warner Brothers Entertainment filed a lawsuit against a librarian and writer Steven Jan Vander and his book’s publisher RDR Books for copyright infringement when the librarian and his publisher published a “Harry Potter” dictionary.
Copyright infringement cases are common in blogging world too. While the laws vary from country to country, the major idea is same, safeguarding something from getting copied.
This is another reason why it is always advised to write blogs in a niche that is like a hobby to you. You’ll not need to copy content from some other blog posts for your own blog posts.
An important point to note here is that as a blogger you don’t need to do a lot of research and analysis of the copyright infringement laws, but it is always advised to have know the major exceptions and limit of copyrights.
You just can’t search for a video or image on Google and use it without permission.
How To Avoid Copyright Infringement?
Reproducing someone’s already published content is easy and sometimes can go unnoticed, but it’s absolutely not worth risking the image and reputation of your blog or website. Agencies like Federal Trade Commission of the United States have always been active and take adequate actions for prevention of such wrong business practises. To avoid such copyright infringement situations, one must follow such methods:
1. Create Your Own!!
Like we said in How to take your blogging income from $1 to $1,000, it is always advised to create original content and choose your niche which you are passionate about. Don’t just write, write what you love.
2. Use Public Domains
Although you don’t get a lot of unique material on public domains and you don’t get the complete rights of the material, still using content from public domains can save yourself from getting sued as materials on public domains are completely free of loyalty and copyrights.
3. Assume Copyright Unless Specified
You cannot be sure if the content you are going to copy is secured under copyright law or not. So the best possible practise to avoid copyright infringement is to assume that the content is secured for copyright. The website from which you are planning to copy content may or may not have a set of legal pages, but that doesn’t mean that it is free from copyright law.
Legal Guide For Bloggers: How To Write A Blog Disclaimer?
An important aspect of keeping your content free from copyright infringement is to add some legal statements on your blog. These statements not just help you to keep your blogs and intellectual property safe, but also gives a trustworthy touch to your blog or online business.
What is a Blog Disclaimer? Some Blog Disclaimer Samples Also.
A blog disclaimer is simply a legal statement that limits your stake or liability, and assures the reader that you cannot be held liable for any content included on the said blog.
A blog disclaimer does not need to be a long lengthy set of legal pages. It can just be a small paragraph or a set of 2-3 lines at the footer of your blog or at the sidebar. It can also be a set of statements on the legal pages of your blog. The blog disclaimer can be of various different types, such as :
1. LifeStyle Blog Disclaimer
One example of lifestyle blog disclaimer is that of The Fashion Law, where you can find the disclaimer on the Privacy and Terms page.
2. Financial Blog Disclaimer
Coinspeaker has its disclaimer written in the Terms and Conditions section in full capital letters.
3. Health Blog Disclaimer Example
The Nerdy Nurse has a dedicated page specially for disclaimer and copyright policy.
4. Beauty Blog Disclaimer
5. Weight Loss Blog Disclaimer
Paleopan has a complete separate page for providing a disclaimer related to its weight loss related products and services.
Legal Guide For Bloggers: How To Add Copyright To Blog?
Legal protection for bloggers is as important for them as legal protection for a song or an artist. Doesn’t matter if you are a pioneer in blogging or a new bee, your content is not safe.
And this doesn’t mean that you need to have a big team of legal experts in order to safe your content from copyright infringement. As a blogger you can do a few things that can surely give you a legal protection and legal edge over your competitors.
This is one of the most simplest to do. You just need to write a few lines at the footer or at any part of your website disclaiming about copyright infringement.
Most common practise to do so is to add these line at the footer of your blog or website.
It is always recommended to add a footer to your RSS feed. An RSS feed is an information that is produced to the reader by the website, such as email address, personal information, name, date of update and so on. You can add a unique digital fingerprint, string of letters, and set of numbers unique to your site.
3. Use Google Alerts
Go to Google Alerts and enter some amount of static data of your website in quotations. Now whenever the same matching set of static words or content will appear elsewhere on the web you will get an RSS or email notification.
4. Licence Your Content
A Legal Guide For Bloggers: Trademark Issues
Trademark, as the name suggests are special identifiers of different intellectual properties. These are issued by different government agencies in different countries, such as the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Trademarks are generally done for a brand name, logo or certain intellectual property that can’t be used by any other person for commercial or non commercial use.
Trademarks are predominantly a product of e-commerce and blogs require no special trademarks. However, if in case you use a brands name or the brands logo to make visitors think that you have affiliate links with the brand while you actually don’t you can get yourself in trouble.
So in this article efforts have been kept in order to keep up with all the updated laws and rules related to blogging and its sub aspects.
In order to keep your content updated and your blog a top notch, it is important to have a clean and reliable image in the “no room for error” market of blogs.
You really don’t need to have a complete team of lawyers and legal guides to run a legal-hassle free blog. And you don’t need to read a lot of those lengthy legal “How To” guides to understand the legal policies and aspects of blogging. “A Legal Guide For Bloggers: How To Make Your Blog Legally Ready” covers the complete do’s and don’ts of blogging and its legal aspects.
Looking for more such amazing “How Tos”check out “How to Build an Online Community Around Your Blog? A Step by Step Guide!” and make your blogging journey a smooth ride.