If you have an online business, there are 3 policies that can help you legally protect your website. In this post, I share what they are and what needs to be in them.
As an online entrepreneur, your online presence is your business, so you need to know how to protect it from possible issues and make sure you’re following applicable laws. In this post, we’ll break down the major rules and regulations you need to follow on your website.
- CAN-SPAM, a Federal law that applies to email marketing
- Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) prevents you from collecting personal or private information from anyone below 13 years old without their parent’s consent
- General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the European Union law that involves the processing of private information and online data collection
- California Online Privacy Protection Act (CalOPPA)
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Avoiding Common Problems Caused by Providing Information
When you’re using your website to build a platform that provides information to others, you’re acting as a teacher. As you share your message, you hope that your audience will listen to you and take your advice.
But what if someone reads your blog or watches your video, follows your advice, and suffers bad consequences? Will you be held liable? Suddenly this issue takes on a new urgency.
As you build your business, you need to protect yourself against these kinds of claims. Even though you’re providing some information to your audience, you don’t have a professional relationship with them, and you don’t know the facts of their situation.
Standard legal language
- You have the right to take down the website, especially when some people have started to rely on you and believe they’re entitled to the information you give out.
- Your website and all its content must be used only for lawful purposes.
- You reserve the rights to the Intellectual Property on your website.
- You can’t guarantee that all the information you provide on your website is 100% accurate. There will be instances when your visitors find typos or outdated information on your website.
- When visitors agree to email communication or when they send you an email, they’re allowing you to respond and keep the details they’ve provided.
- Website visitors must act appropriately, legally, and respectfully when using any form of communication or interactive elements on your website, such as comment boxes and chat boxes. Any sign of abuse will not be tolerated.
- You have the right to use anything your visitors submit to you.
- You have no control over the information, activities, and data accuracy of linked third-party websites and services.
- You’re not making any warranty or guarantees and you have limited liability for your website.
- Address the process involved in disputes.
Templates or Forms
You need to have a clause that addresses what your website visitors can do with the forms or templates that they download from your website when they purchase your product or service. You can add restrictions, such as prohibiting your clients from reselling your products to other people.
Free Downloadable Content
Don’t forget to add restrictions as to what your website visitors can do with your free downloadable content. You must clearly state that it’s only for personal use. Remind them that you hold all the rights to your content and they cannot copy, distribute, or resell them in any way. If they want other people to have the freebie, they must direct them to your website.
Money-Back Guarantee or Refund Policy
You must clearly state whether or not you offer a money-back guarantee or a refund policy, and you must clearly indicate that there are no refunds if you don’t offer one. If you do offer refunds, you need to lay out your refund policy, the requirements they need to meet, and the steps they have to follow.
Under the GDPR, you also have to provide contact information and identify the company behind the website, and you need to identify your data protection officer if your business processes private information.
Addition Privacy Rules For The EU
If you’re in the EU or your website targets an audience from the EU, you need to meet the Cookie Directive requirement. You also need to tell website users that their data won’t be associated with them in any personal way unless they provide their personal information.
It’s important that you specify why you’re collecting their data. Perhaps it’s to sell them a product, send them freebies, or improve your website. You need to disclose whatever it is you’re using their information for.
You also need to tell your website visitors if you need to share their information with other people. Under the GDPR standard, you need to disclose either the recipients or categories of recipients of the information. You don’t have to list every person you share the information with. Instead, you can explain this using broad categories.
If you’re in the EU, you also need to indicate if you plan to remove the data from the EU like when you’re using an email service provider outside of Europe.
You also need to disclose how long you plan to keep the data. You can say that you plan to keep their data until it’s no longer useful or until they ask you to delete their information.
A disclaimer will protect you, your business, and your website. It will prevent you from being sued, chased by regulators, and having disputes.
Education Not Advice
Your disclaimer must state that the information you provide on your website is for general education and not professional advice.
You must also include disclosures about your financial incentives on your website.
You need to disclose if you’re getting a product at a discount when you give a review on your website. In addition, you also need to disclose when you’re using affiliate links so your website visitors know that you’ll receive a commission when they click on a link and purchase something. If you have ownership of another company that you’re promoting on your website, you need to tell your visitors.
Results Are Not Typical
When it comes to success or income claims, you need to state that results are not typical, especially when you’re using testimonials or earnings claims on your website. It means the results will vary and depend on different circumstances that are out of your control. You should say that you can’t make any guarantees that they will get the same results.
You need to have a section that says you’re not making any warranty and that you have limited liability. It’s a part of your disclaimer that prevents you from getting sued.
Errors and Omissions
You should include a clause that says there may be errors or omissions on your website. You should add a personal responsibility clause stating that it’s the visitor’s responsibility to check the accuracy of the information or if it applies to their personal circumstances.
Get Website Legal Protection in Place
If you’d rather spend your time working on projects that actually generate revenue in your business than creating legal policies, you can grab my website legal pack for just $27. You’ll get templates for all three of these policies. All you have to do is customize the templates with your information and add them to your website.
If you want to learn more about the legal foundations for your business, join my signature program, BADA$$ Online Marketing University (BOMU). You don’t have to spend a cent to get access to my legal training.