6 Important Legal Issues Bloggers Should Know
Whether you’re writing about your financial services or your travel destinations, you want current and potential customers or followers to find your website, get all the information they need, and choose you over your competitors.
Regardless of your audience size or the type of information your website provides, you need to stay informed if you want to avoid legal trouble for bloggers.
What you say online can be used against you!
Here are 6 ways bloggers can stay on the right side of the law:
1. Reveal any material relationship with a brand or advertiser.
Don’t pretend you don’t get paid to write a brand post or talk about a new product.
Some examples of products or services that you should disclose in a related article include:
• Free tickets to a game or concert
• Products or services that you have been asked to review
• Business gifts
In addition to helping you blog without breaking the law, disclosure also helps you build and maintain the trust of your audience; It makes a lot of sense.
2. Avoid making promises.
You are required by law to talk about what people can expect in general, rather than make outrageous claims. You cannot tell people that they are going to lose 10 pounds overnight by drinking a brand name tea or that they will look 15 years younger using a special cream.
Putting a “non-typical results” disclaimer in fine print also doesn’t work. In most cases, the business will be the defendant in a consumer-driven class action lawsuit, but could still be singled out by dissatisfied customers or even named in a lawsuit.
3. Understand copyright laws.
These protect the original creator of a work, from text and images to audio clips. Many bloggers have gotten into big trouble for using content on blogs that they didn’t create and didn’t ask for permission to use.
The best thing to do when it comes to finding images, audio and video content is to search for sources that provide royalty-free licensed works or Creative Commons licensed works.
4. Know the specific laws of your business.
For example, if you are a lawyer, it is essential that you know that, from a legal point of view, giving advice online is considered an exercise of law.
Only a licensed attorney can provide legal advice, and you must have formed an attorney-client relationship with whoever is providing it. You will need to provide your website visitors with information that solves their problems without being considered legal advice.
5. Respect privacy.
If you’re sending an email newsletter, be sure to ask people before you send them something. Also, give them a way to opt out of receiving all emails. The Canadian Antispam Act (CASL) and the UK GDPR state that it is the law to do so or face potential financial consequences.
6. Watch what it says.
Many site owners write content around their personal experiences and opinions. However, if you post false information about anyone or anything that could negatively affect a reputation publicly, you could be sued for defamation.
If you don’t have concrete proof that the negative information you’re posting is 100% true, don’t post it.
Ignorance is not a viable defense when it comes to legal issues for bloggers. No matter what your area of expertise is, it is your responsibility to learn and follow the rules for blogging without breaking the law.