Blog Without Breaking the Law

Avoid making promises

You’re bound by law to talk about what people can generally expect rather than to make outrageous claims. You can’t tell people they’re going to lose 10 pounds overnight by drinking a brand’s tea or look 15 years younger by using a special cream.

It doesn’t work to put a “results not typical” disclaimer in the fine print, either. In most cases the company will be the defendant of a consumer-driven class-action suit, but you could still be singled out by unhappy clients or even named in a lawsuit.

Understand copyright laws

These protect the original creator of a work – from text and images to audio clips. Many bloggers have gotten in big trouble for using content on blogs that they didn’t create and didn’t ask permission to use.

Your best bet when it comes to finding images, audio and video content is to look for sources that provide royalty-free licensed works or works licensed with Creative Commons licenses.

Know the specific laws around your business

For example, if you’re an attorney, it’s essential to know that from a legal standpoint, giving advice online is considered practicing of law.

Only a licensed attorney may give legal advice, and he or she must have formed an attorney-client relationship with whomever they’re giving it to. You’ll need to give your website visitors information that solves their problems without it coming across as legal advice.

Respect privacy

You’re not allowed to capture private information about visitors and share or sell that info to a third party unless you have permission. If you do collect data about your audience in any way, you need to let them know in your Privacy Policy.

If you’re going to send an email newsletter, make sure you ask people before sending them anything. Also, give them a way to opt-out on every email. Canada’s Anti-Spam Law (CASL) and the UK’s GDPR makes it the law to do so or potentially face financial consequences.