I’m sure you’re overwhelmed about all the stuff we have to do for our blogs. It’s a ton. Between writing and promoting posts, taking photos, using social media, visiting other blogs, trying to monetize, blahblahblah, it’s a ton! So today I want to share 5 simple tweaks to legally protect your blog right now. These tweaks will improve your blog and protect it from legal issues too.
Add a copyright statement
A copyright statement sounds scary but it doesn’t have to be. It’s just a simple statement letting your readers know that you are affirmatively letting the universe know that you created your blog content and what you are okay with others using. Here’s an example, which is my copyright statement:
Information on this website may be copied for personal use only. No part of this website may be reproduced, stored, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, scanning, or otherwise, except as permitted under Section 107 or 108 of the 1976 United States Copyright Act, without the prior written permission of the author. Requests to the author and publisher for permission should be addressed to the following email:[email protected]
If you want to add a copyright statement to your blog, you can use mine! Add it somewhere to your blog and now people will know that you aren’t okay with them just copying your content. But if you’re okay people taking and using your photos and you just want attribution, you can change your statement to reflect that.
Maybe you’re a photographer and you want people to use your photos or maybe you create free downloads and want people to use them on their blog and just want a link back. Figure out what works for you!
Include a disclosure on any sponsored posts
I discussed What You Need to Know to (Legally) Work with Brands in a recent post. Check that one out for more info on working with brands, but the basics are that you need to disclose any sponsored posts. This is whenever you are getting paid or compensated for promoting a company or brand. Short summary – you need to do this every time.
If you have a lot of old sponsored posts, it might take some time, but just go back through your sponsored posts and include a disclaimer. This can be as simple as “I was compensated for this post (or I received a free product in exchange for this post) but all opinions are my own.”
Related: Get your own Disclosure Statement in the Legal Marketplace
Create a spreadsheet to track income and expenses
In my recent post on 7 Legal Myths About Blogging, I mentioned how the IRS wants to know when you’re making $400 or more with your blog. So you need to be tracking your income and expenses starting right now. You can easily do this by creating a spreadsheet to track your income and expenses.
Don’t want to create your own? Well just download mine and use it now! I’ve included examples so you can see how it works. The formulas are in there to automatically update the totals across all the sheets. Since it’s nearly a new year, the spreadsheet is updated for 2016.
Write a privacy statement
A privacy statement just lets your readers know that they are safe on your site and you won’t share their information with any third parties without their permission. This is important because people are giving you their email address when they leave blog comments or sign up for your newsletter. But you aren’t allowed to share that info with others – big no-no! Also you can’t take people’s email addresses from comments and add them to your email list. Also a big no-no! So make this clear to your readers by including a simple privacy statement. Here is mine, which you can take and use as is or change it as you see fit:
Related Post: How to Create Your Blog Privacy Statement
Find stock photos
So you created your copyright statement above, basically saying “hey don’t steal my stuff!” Likewise, you shouldn’t steal other people’s stuff. In a recent post on Ways To Just Get It Done, I included a free guide for 14 amazing free resources for stock photos for your blog. This is the perfect way to have beautiful images for your blog without worrying about infringing on other people’s copyright. Easy peasy.
So there you have it – 5 easy things you can do right now to improve your blog and protect it from legal issues now and down the right. But we all know this isn’t a comprehensive list of what you need to know of course. If you’re ready to learn more about the legal basics of blogging, don’t miss my new ebook – The Blogger’s Handbook for Keeping It Legal™. This is the perfect legal resource guide for bloggers on keeping your blog legal. I’ve broken down everything that bloggers (new bloggers and seasoned bloggers alike) need to know.
So go check that out if you’re ready to up your legal nerd blog knowledge. K thanks bye!