Online privacy laws regulate and standardize the storing and using of personally identifiable information of individuals. This information is usually collected by entities like governments, big businesses, organizations or other individuals operating as contractors of sole traders. Let’s take a look at some of the major privacy laws around the globe. and… …be mindful of […]
Do You Need Terms and Conditions for Blogs?
You may be wondering whether or not you require a terms and conditions agreement for your blog?
The Terms and Conditions Agreement serves many purposes and as a blog owner there are some that are specifically helpful to you. All blogs should have a terms and conditions agreement, (also known as a terms of service agreement) especially if your site allows user comments, has user accounts, or sells any products. Read on to find out what your terms and conditions agreement should include.
On this page
Use of Website
Here is an opportunity for you to list any behaviours or actions which will not be tolerated on your website. These could include disrupting your website or servers in anyway, harassment, abuse or violence in any form, misrepresentation of self or interfering with another person’s use of the website, just as a few examples.
Most bloggers encourage feedback and participation on their site and therefore most blogs have users comments. A terms and conditions agreement helps minimize the legal risks associated with these comments. Users comments may contain copyrighted material which infringes upon copyright laws and your terms and conditions agreement can contain a clause requiring users to warrant that they are the owner of all intellectual property rights or have sufficient rights to grant the license to the content before posting.
You are also outlining to your users that users comments do not represent your views and are not endorsed by you.
If your blog has accounts for your users to log into the website then adding a clause regarding the use of their accounts is recommended.
Include in this section that the user is responsible for the security and confidentiality of their password and account details, that they will agree to contact you if they become aware of any unauthorized use of their account, and if you use a tool which allows sign up through a third party service, such as Facebook or Google then this needs to be included.
You have no doubt spent a lot of time creating content for your blog ad therefore you need to protect your hard work. Add a clause into your Terms and Conditions agreement outlining the terms around use of your content.
Things you may wish to include in this clause are that all of the content, apart from user content, is owned by you, that your content must remain your exclusive property, it will not be modified, copy, distribute or modify the content in any way is not permitted by copyright law.
In agreeing to the terms and conditions of using your site, your user will be agreeing to refrain from reproducing, distributing, selling or publishing the material found on your website without the written consent from you.
Intellectual Property Rights
Include a clause in your terms and conditions contract which protects your intellectual property.
Intellectual property encompasses all of the material on your blog. This includes words, information, graphics, design and logos.
Let your users know that your intellectual property is protected under copyright, trademark and other intellectual property laws.
Limitations of Liability
An important clause for any website, including a blog, a limitations of liability clause helps to remove responsibility from you for the use of your website. The clause explains that you are not responsible or liable for any damages to equipment used by your users through the use of your website. Nor are you liable in any way for any other damages that may arise out of the use of your website.
Your readers are advised to stop using your website if they have any problem with the website or the content contained on your website.
Links to and from your Blog
It is a good idea to have clauses included in your terms and conditions agreement that cover links that are linking to your blog from third party websites or external links from your blog to third party websites.
It is in your best interests to include in the links clause that the user warrants that the site they are linking to you from does not contain any harmful, pornographic, hateful or abusive material. You also should include that the links from the third party website to yours give the third party website no rights to your site.
It is also important that your users understand that when they are clicking an external link from your website to a third party website, that you are not responsible for the trustworthiness of this external website and that your user should evaluate the trustworthiness of the third party website before disclosing any personal information to them.
Minimum Age Requirement
In line with the COPPA, the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, and GDPR, it is in your best interests to include a Minimum Age Requirement clause in your terms and conditions agreement. In this clause state that your website is only for use of those 13 years and older in the US and 16 years and older in the European Union. By agreeing to this agreement, your users are representing themselves as at least the age required for use of your blog.
Jurisdiction and Governing Law
It’s important to identify which laws your blog falls under. Any claims relating to the use of your blog are therefore governed by these laws.
If you happen to be a blogger who sells any products, either digital or physical then adding a refund policy to your Terms and conditions is a must. Do you offer refunds? Do you offer exchanges? If so then your refund policy will outline the terms for these refunds and exchanges and if you do not offer either then your terms and conditions agreement should also outline this.
Benefits of having a terms and conditions agreement on your blog
There are a number of reasons that having a terms and conditions agreement on your blog is beneficial. Lets take a look at a few of them.
Having a terms and conditions agreement increase the trust factor of your blog. Your users have access to the rules governing the use of your website, what is expected of them and what they can expect from you in return (for example your refund policy and behaviours you do and don’t tolerate. It is this transparency that helps to create an increased level of trust.
Protect your content
As a blogger you spend hours creating content form your website. It is only fair that you should protect this content from being stolen or misused by others. Adding the Our Content and Intellectual Property Rights clauses goes a long way to helping you protect what is rightfully yours.
By adding clauses that indicate your rules of conduct, such as the Use of Website clause and the Prohibited Use clause, and the Users Content clause, you are outlining the type of behaviour that you expect from your users and expressing the types of behavior that will not be tolerated.
Examples of abusive behaviour could be posting defamatory content, making abusive comments to other users or even attempting to infect your website with malware of some type.
Having all of this information in your terms and conditions agreement will make is much easier for you to take action based on the type of incident that occurs.
Limit your Liability
A Terms and Conditions agreement is a legally binding contract between the user and you. Having this agreement therefore reduces the chances of any legal action against you.
The Limitation of Liability clause explains to your users that your website is not responsible for any errors in content, or damages to the user or the users property.
By now you should be able to see why having a terms and conditions agreement on your blog is a good idea. It not only goes a long way in protecting your work but it also makes life simpler and easier for you and your users when there are rules and guidelines to follow.
Our terms and conditions generator is highly customizable and include all of the necessary clauses you will require to ensure your blog is covered.