Many conferences have tracks for the four areas of blogging: business, technical, social and emotional. Yet, legal concepts impact all of them. Conferences like Bloggy Boot Camp understand that legal issues are part of the whole blogger business picture, but if you weren’t at the Boston event or need a quick recap of our Legal presentation, here are 5 quick legal takeaways for your blog.
1. Images: The next time you work with a brand, ask them upfront to provide an appropriate image. If you are a brand, include the image with your blogger pitch or contract. Then state in your blog post, “Image used with permission from ABC brand“. Then save the permission in a file for a legal paper trail.
2. Tweets: Next time you tweet or retweet, think about what you are saying in the tweet. Some companies are taking issue with the content of some tweets saying it hurts their brand image and are pursing legal action as a result. The legal rulings are still uncertain, but you don’t want to be the one the judge decides to make an example of in the social media world.
3. Contracts: Brands and bloggers should both take note of this point. If a blogger works for a brand to write a post or a series of posts for some sort of renumeration, and a contract is involved, the blogger should not have to (nor should the contract state) that the blogger’s entire blog be subject to the oversight of the brand. It should just be the content the blogger is producing for the campaign.
4. Prepare: Find a social media savvy lawyer now, before you need one. It is like going into labor and then doing research on what hospital you want to go to, where it is, what doctors work there. Talk to friends now, follow lawyers on twitter now, and read their bios to see if they have Facebook pages and Twitter accounts and use words like ‘digital millennium copyright act’. Then when you need one, you can quickly make the call. Literally.
5. Disclosure: While most know FTC rules require compensation disclosure, what that means for bloggers is disclosure language within or above/below your post. If a brand sends you language, it is best to use what they provide you. However, if none is provided, simple language like, “I received $50 from ABC Company for writing this post” works well too. My suggestion would be to also provide language when you don’t get compensation, for two reasons. 1. So you get used to always having a disclosure statement on every post and 2. It lets your reader know that you are being upfront, on all fronts, when you write a post about a company or product. (I’m going to start doing this myself.)
There are great attorneys out there that write on these subjects. If you are interested in reading more about copyright, contracts and more as it relates to blogging, one legal blog I highly recommend is Sara from Saving For Someday. Yet, all in all, I hope more conference organizers add more legal speakers and legal-related panels going forward. That way be can all be legally savvy, and not legally scared.
Disclosure: I’m an attorney, but I’m not your attorney. The information provided in this post is not legal advice and should not be construed as such. Your reading this post or visiting this website does not create an attorney/client relationship. I am providing the above for informational purposes only.