Are you Blogging Legally? Get Advice on Protecting your Online Business.
Legally protecting your blog can often be overlooked when there are so many other blogging tasks to take care of. Many bloggers seek advice from other bloggers who don’t have any legal background. This isn’t wise.
There are some ways you can take shortcuts in blogging, however I would never recommend this. Hard work and being compliant always pays off.
This post contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. I only share products and services I have personally used and love. Disclosure here.
So, I’m excited to share a chat I had with a fellow blogger who is also a licensed attorney. Let me introduce Mariam – a lawyer and blogger from Freelance & Marketing. She will be breaking down everything us bloggers need to be mindful of from a legal perspective.
This is IMPORTANT information to protect you legally!
Interview with Lawyer, Mariam Tsaturyan at Freelance and Marketing
Learn how to blog legally. Tips from @MariamTsaturya2, a lawyer who blogs! #bloggerswanted #bloggingtips Click To Tweet
1. Tell us about yourself, Mariam!
I am married to my college sweetheart. We’ve been together for over 10 years, have a beautiful baby boy who’s almost 3 years old and I am a licensed attorney.
Blogging has always been a passion of mine. I actually first took up blogging back in 2005/06, and in 6 months, without even intending to, I started earning $2500/month on average.
Life interfered, I started college, and blogging took a backseat. Now, I’ve been blogging for almost a year already, and love it.
2. What are the top 3 legal mistakes you notice bloggers making?
1. Using a virtual mailbox for a valid address on their emails for CAN-SPAM compliance. (virtual mailboxes are not compliant!)
2. GDPR violations, especially when it comes to the double opt-ins (the way most people use double opt-in is not compliant with GDPR requirements). Learn more about GDPR compliance here.
3. Copyright infringements – something as simple as using a quote by another person in a social media graphic (there are of course exceptions to every rule)
3. Can you share what the law is for all bloggers when it comes to their websites?
There is no one (1) law that bloggers are supposed to comply with. Instead, there are several pieces of laws, as well as different bits and pieces of other existing laws and regulations that can be applied to bloggers.
Law is most of the time based on interpretation and specific factual circumstances. No two situations are the same.
However, there are some generalities that bloggers and website owners overall have to comply with. One of them is already mentioned above, you have to make sure your website and/or blog is GDPR compliant. If you’re in the United States area, then you also have to comply with CAN-SPAM laws and must have a valid physical address listed at the footer of your emails.
Another would be to pay attention to copyright rules and not to infringe on anyone else’s rights.
- Make sure you have all the required and recommended website policies on your site. Customize them to show the purpose and mission of your own site.
- Do not ask for legal advice from non-lawyers. Honestly, you wouldn’t want an engineer to perform a surgery on you instead of a doctor-same analogy. If you need legal advice, ask someone whose job it is to give that.
- Do not overcomplicate your site… remember, one of the key things in being compliant with most laws is to give your reader/website visitor a choice. They must be able to choose what they want instead of forcing it on them.
4. What do legal pages protect bloggers from?
Some legal pages are necessary by law, while others are highly recommended.
Moreover, your visitor has a choice. They can choose to stay on your site, which means they agree to the rules, policies, and terms…Or they can choose to leave your site if they disagree.
Proper legal pages and policies give notice of:
- Protected work
- They give notice of data being collected,
- and also whether the website owner in question gets compensated for any products, services that they promote.
Legal pages, of course, protect various bloggers and website owners from different things depending on the particulars of the website in question.
What I’ve described above is a more general approach. For a more specific approach, particular factual circumstances need to be known.
5. Other than the right legal pages, what else do bloggers need to be legally compliant?
I think the biggest problem I see is some bloggers take incorrect legal advice from non-lawyers, then they themselves advise other people with the same incorrect information. As a result, there ends up being a chain of bloggers who follow that same incorrect advice/approach.
Aside from complying with necessary privacy laws, bloggers should just be mindful of using another person’s work product and protected assets. Don’t just assume that it’s ok to take an image and use it in your own post just because people keep sharing it on social media. Always err on the side of caution.
Remember that much of the law is based on interpretation. Most things fall under a grey area, meaning there is no immediate right or wrong answer. You might think that your way is not necessarily wrong, and you could prove it if need be in court.
However, think of this, going to court is expensive and time-consuming. Isn’t it better to just err on the side of caution instead of risking a lawsuit?
6. Tell us about your legal templates
You can buy them individually or in a bundle.
My goal is to update my templates and add different ones for various needs. The templates themselves come in a doc. format once the buyer downloads them. The templates are super easy to customize as I created text placements with directions for appropriate sections.
These templates are legally compliant, cover all the necessary and recommended basis.
You can confidently get them and set them up on your own site. I wanted to create something and price it in a way that would be affordable for all the bloggers.
7. What (non-legal) advice would you give to other bloggers?
I think the key to blogging is consistency. I believe it’s still possible to make very good money from your blog, but don’t expect it overnight.
In my opinion, to succeed in the blogging industry, one must master the fundamentals first. I would say spend your time on building your email list, network with other bloggers in your or related niches, regularly provide support to others by showcasing your expertise.
8. What do you love most about blogging?
I love the freedom and creative outlet that blogging gives me. It has the potential of being a full-time job for me pretty soon while allowing me to raise my son and be with him every second of the day.
I think more than anything else I love blogging because it introduced me to various skills, programs, and abilities that I would not have had without it. Thanks to blogging, I am now a decent graphics designer, know how to set up and use pretty much any software, and much more!
Blogging is just exciting for me. It’s something I look forward to doing every second of every day.
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