Editors note: This is a guest post by my friend Shadab Alam. In this post he presents 8 tips to keep you safe from lawsuits as a blogger. Happy reading!
Are you willing to pay fine while Blogging?
But there are things you might be doing on your blog which can lead you into serious trouble.
These may be due to negligence.
Or you might not be aware of the rules and regulation regarding Blogging.
So if you don’t want to sued for any reasons, please read this post completely.
Disclaimer: Now to make it clear, the owners of this site and I are not legal advisors, attorney or lawyer. This post is for serving the basic global knowledge. If you want a 100% legal advice, I suggest you consult an attorney or your legal advisor.
Now here are few things that you can take care of.
Basic, still most important.
Even though the copyright section is a basic step, it provides a legal defense against copying or theft of your original work. It also stops you from copying others.
You have the right to your blog’s content, but displaying Copyright section on your blog is an added advantage.
So if someone copies or reproduces your content without your permission, you can send copyright claim, or if it is in the major ground then you can even get a compensation.
The same applies to you as well.
If you copy from someone else’s site then you may be subjected to a lawsuit (if the owner demands), or maybe sort it out by some other options.
It is not a 100% full proof method for stopping the theft of online materials but a real necessity to curb it in the long run.
2. Using Branded Domain
I see many people, especially new bloggers use some of the trademark names in their URL.
Like BMWfans, Teslaking etc.
Man, those are trademarks or branded domain. If the owners of these brands should find out about the practice, they will definitely send you a notice to take it down.
Don’t even use something like BMWunofficial etc, because it contains a trademark name.
But doing that won’t let you directly into a lawsuit (it can sometimes), but they likely will lead to a cease and desist letter, such as, sending you a letter or mail saying “don’t use our name” etc etc.
And you have to stop right there with only two options to consider:
- Change the domain name or,
- Shut down your Blog.
And in case you do not comply with the instructions, then a lawsuits might be the next option.
So better avoid using brand names and trademarks, especially in your domain name.
3. The risk in Affiliate Program
Affiliate programs are great avenues to make money from your blog, but these programs can be risky for you and your blog. How?
It happened with one guy. (Maybe happened with more people)
He was an affiliate for a software product and always make lots of affiliate sales. Overall he and his audience were happy.
One day he got an email saying, “the Software you promote has a bug and it records the transaction details like the credit card, debit card, and other sensitive information.”
The news went viral and by researching more it was found that he owns millions from users. But all the money went to software company which exists only on paper.
So when you are promoting any product you have to be sure it works perfectly.
Ensure that you personally use the product before recommending it to others.
Here is a list of few Affiliate sites that are genuine.
Your blog is your business (even though you are working from home). So follow the best standard for business practices.
Related Post: How to Grow Your Blog Faster Than You Imagine
4. Be Right About What You Say
Your blog is an online journal that can have both positive and negative impact on you as well as on your audience.
So don’t ever publish any fake or misleading information on your blog.
Though only a handful bloggers do it intentionally.
But there may be a chance that unintentionally you can produce fake information.
This is because many bloggers (especially in tech niche) rush to cover topics quickly, ahead of other bloggers and the mainstream media.
Unfortunately, though, sometimes speed comes at the cost of accuracy.
So spreading misleading information can be filed against you for fraud and violation of applicable consumer protection laws.
The same goes if you say anything negative about any company, brand or individual.
You have to be right about it.
You should have facts to prove your acquisition before hitting publish on your Blog.
5. An Angry Post
Something similar to be right.
You may not mean to harm anyone’s feeling but if you Defaming someone, or labelling them, which can damage their name and reputation, then you are subject to the defamation act.
I am mentioning this because in order to gain free fast traffic a lot of bloggers use an Angry or controversial post.
So if you are among those Bloggers do remember that this can be a serious issue and you may be sued for it.
Now security is an important aspect even in Blogging.
Even Google mentioned that having HTTPS connection is an added advantage.
And if you are selling anything on your blog and collects sensitive information like Names, emails, and business card details, then implementing proper security is a must.
If you didn’t take proper precautions and if your customer went through any fraud then they may sue you.
Basically, it can be solved through compensation but if the loss is much greater, then it may be a serious problem for you.
Interestingly, HTTPS will boost your blog’s credibility and protect you from any fraud and breeches.
7. Register Yourself as Company
This is not necessary in the early stage but can be more useful when you establish yourself.
You can register your Blog as online business and can get an LLC for it.
And because it is your business, you need to implement the necessary standards and norms.
A good rule of thumb, though, not mandatory you can have a separate bank account for your blog so that you can file tax on your income, because not paying proper tax is a crime in all countries.
And if you are making good money from your blog then you are liable to pay taxes.
You can’t digest Government’s Money.
8. Have Important Pages
Your Blog should include some important pages like:
ii. Terms and Condition
Even now Amazon is strict in their Affiliate Section.
Now Amazon wants to have Affiliate Disclosure listed properly visible on your blog.
So displaying some important pages on your blog or website can prevent you from legal issues.
You just need to follow the rules and standard.
Just a quick reminder that neither me nor the blog owner “Moss Clement” is an Attorney or a lawyer. This is an informative post that teaches the basic rules and regulation implemented by all the famous bloggers.
Using the above-mentioned process can be sufficient if you want to stay out of trouble.
Just follow the basic blogging ethics and you will be good to go.
Avoid copying anything from other sites, especially images from Google.
And if there is a need of using someone’s article let them know first or use the legit methods like linking back to the original source.
You will succeed in your Blogging journey.
About the Author
Shadab Alam is a young entrepreneur who focus mainly on improving the Blogging Standards and Building Personal Brand. Author of three Top Selling Novels and Founder of SuccessPiper who love to write about blogging, social media marketing and Personal branding. A person filled with multiple knowledge disorder.
Moss Clement is a blogger and B2B freelance writer who blogs at www.mossmedia.biz. He is working with B2B marketers and individuals like you by providing high-quality blog content writing, ghostwriting, and other writing services that are tailored to the needs of your target audience.