Legal Stuff for Bloggers

Is your blog legal? Have you covered all of your legal bases?  There are certain things that every blogger needs on their blog to be compliant with FCC laws and to cover themselves from potential lawsuits.

Legal Stuff for Bloggers

Is your blog legal

Legal Stuff
Disclaimer- I am not a lawyer.  The following information is for informational purposes only.  If you feel that you need legal counsel then please contact a BAR certified attorney.

Yup, believe it or not there are some legal necessities to get out of the way- who knew that being a blogger could bring about legal issues- I didn’t realize until this week that you could be sued! SCARY!!

So I decided this needed to be a TOP Priority for our blogging series! Don’t worry, there’s not a whole lot that you have to do.

1. Copyright

First, you need to copyright your blog.  You may not think you need this but you do!

So, why should I copyright my blog? I read about a blogger who’s articles were copied verbatim along with the pictures and even the typos and someone else claimed it as their own with no link back to the original post.  Well the site that stole the blogger’s information got ranked higher and therefore received more traffic and wasn’t even producing it’s own content. So the original writer lost out on getting recognized for his/her work, didn’t get the backlink (which increases SEO- we’ll be going over this soon), and people interested in the original blogger’s content were dupped.  Plus, stealing is wrong and I don’t think people should profit from stealing other’s work.  By placing a copyright on your blog you are letting potential thieves know that you don’t tolerate intellectual theft!  It took less than 5 minutes to place a copyright on my blog.

Go to Web Weaver and use the copyright generator for free to get a copyright.  Then add an html gadget to your main page with the copyright inserted.  You can see mine at the bottom of the page.

2. TOS

Now that your blog is copyrighted you need a Terms of Use/Service for your blog.  This is some major legal mumbo jumbo about how you’re not responsible for how people use and post on your site- but it’s still legally required.  You can use the free Terms of Use generator from TermsFeed.  This is lengthy and comprehensive so it can be used for business sites too.  I just skimmed it after it generated and took out my address and phone number because I don’t want just anyone having those but I did insert my email.  Once it’s generated you can just cut and paste it into a new page (You want to put each of these on it’s own page because that will help increase your SEO).

3. Privacy Policy

Next up is a privacy policy. A Privacy Policy is extremely important for your blog if you host any linky parties where readers will input their email or if you collect emails for a newsletter or if your blog generates cookies, etc.  Basically a privacy policy for blogs says whether you will sell their emails, how often you will use their information to contact them, and so on. It’s a lot more legal mumbo jumbo that I don’t fully understand but luckily there’s an app a generator for that! Go to or to generate one in less than 5 minutes.  Then copy and paste it into a blog page.

4. Disclosure Policy

Do you have any ads running on your blog? Do you make money from sponsored posts? Do you receive or accept free product for sponsored posts? Do you get or want to get compensated in any way through your blog? IF so, then you need a Disclosure Policy. Many sites like IZEA require you to have a Disclosure Policy easily accessible on your blog in order to participate.  You can use this Disclosure Policy Generator to easily make one. And, yet again, just cut and paste it into a page.

(Do you have an IZEA account yet? Do you want to make a little extra money from your blog? Click the link above and sign up for IZEA- not only do you get paid for posts but they also have social media opportunities where you can make money performing social shares.)

5. Disclaimer

Finally, you need a Disclaimer Policy for your blog.  A disclaimer policy protects you– your rights, free speech, your content, ect.  More basically, this covers your butt if someone does one of your projects (like painting their countertops) and it doesn’t work right- they can’t come sue you and make you pay for their DIY fail. I know a lot of this seems to overlap with each other but better safe than sorry! Luckily, yet again, there is a free generator that will take care of all the legal speak for you.
I urge you to please take the 30 minutes it took me to set all of this up so you are protected!
Update: I have received many questions regarding how to put these pages at the bottom of your blog- I made a video showing you how here.

What questions do you have about blogging? Leave a comment below and let me help!

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  1. says

    Hi Melissa!

    I’m pretty new to blogging and came across your site through Pinterest. I am so glad to have found this information! I didn’t even think about any of the legal stuff except copyright, and I had no idea how to do that. I noticed that you offered up the wording for your disclaimer to a few other commenters. Would you mind if I used it as well? I am so lost in all this legal mumbo-jumbo.

    • says

      Definitely feel free to use it! Also, I don’t think I’ve updated this post lately but you can check out my other blogging training at you may find some of it useful. 🙂

  2. says

    Thank you so much for the advice, Melissa! I look forward to learning more from your blog as I get ready to launch my own online business/blog. I am launching next week, and I knew I was forgetting something major, and it wasn’t until I stumbled upon your blog via pinterest, that I remembered what it was. Thank you! You totally just saved my butt!

  3. Dena says

    Thanks so very much for the info here! I really appreciate it since I am a true newbie at blogging. When I get everything the way I want it, it’ll be great, and your information will help me to do this! Thanks again!!!

  4. says

    Hi Melissa! I have really appreciated this post, but there are two broken links I wanted to bring your attention to: the disclaimer generator and the disclosure policy generator links don’t work. I’ll do a search and see if I can find them on my own. Just thought you might want to know! I’m sorry if someone else has already said this, I honestly didn’t read through all of the comments to find out.


  5. Lindsey says

    The Disclaimer generator isn’t working- do you have a different website you could direct me to for a Disclaimer?

    Lots of thanks,

  6. says

    Great information on how to “be legal”. Thanks for the post. I most needed the information about the Disclosure Policy, but I cannot get the link to the Disclosure Policy Generator to work. Please help me out if you get a chance. 🙂

    • says

      Oh no…apparently the Disclosure Policy Generator site went under and is no longer running. I’ve tried searching for another one but can’t seem to find one. If you want you can just copy mine and change where it shows my information to be your information.

  7. J Fajardo says

    Thank you so much for this! I’ve been researching online about legalizing your blog/online business and your article was the most helpful without trying to sell me something. Really appreciate all the time you spent creating this for us!

  8. says

    Thank you so very much for putting all of this highly valuable information in one clear, conscise post. I can’t tell you how much you’ve helped me today!! A million thanks, Melissa!! ~Erin at DelightfulEMade

    • says

      I’m so happy you found this article useful! I have to reference back to it every year and make sure I’m up to date on everything….I never knew it would be so useful to so many people when I first wrote it! 🙂

  9. says

    This was so useful!!!! Came across this on Pinterest.. and although my blog is very young.. literally only a few months old I feel ahead of the game just a tid bit now. Still have less than professional photos and serious lack of content BUT we all start somewhere. Thank you so much for sharing this information!!! I used both the privacy policy generator and the copyright generator!

  10. says

    I deeply appreciate your post on this topic. I was a brand new and blind blogger in November. While researching a subject for a friend blogger, low and behold, I discovered my photos on the images search I was working on. Clicking it, I found all of my photos and some of my content was stolen by someone contributing to a site using my post as her own. I contacted the site, showed proof it was my material and they withdrew her credits and her altogether. They redirected the traffic and credit to me, however the huge boost that was maintained was not by my own application to begin with. There were more views and comments than I had on my own blog and social media altogether. That hurt. The site was kind enough to remove her comments and allow me to add my own after a few days of manipulating some of the content. Unfortunately not all of it was corrected. The post is in error and certainly not my style. She used incorrect process or steps and material descriptions. Regardless of the attempts to correct, it is still a poor post in my opinion, and the opinions of my Facebook readers. We all agree it was despicable.

    Even though I maintained my rights, I’m not happy with the end results. The best the site could do was to redirect the post to my original which was a better version. I feel bad for the readers who commented on the site with the fake poster because they didn’t have the correct content, and, I had to re-reply with my own comments months later. I don’t do that. I answer within two days. I look like a half butted blogger with late comments on that post. Furious, I would like to go after the thief. If she took it with directing the source and correct content, I would have accepted the situation. But taking it as her own was a horrific “rape” of my creativity.

    I wish I knew then what I know now. Thank you so much for these tips, Melissa. I’m still learning and posts like yours teach us more than you know.

    ~ Robin

    • says

      I’m so sorry that happened to you Robin. People are just so rude! I’m glad you found this post useful….I can’t believe it’s almost 2 years old now…I probably need to update a few things as FTC laws have changed since then….but the basics are still all true. I hope that you never have to deal with a content stealer again….they make my blood boil! But, on the plus side, you can take it as a form of flattery that so many people liked YOUR work– hopefully one day there will be better legislation in place to keep content stealers from taking the risk!

  11. says

    I stumbled upon your post last night from Pinterest. I am just starting to think about blog writing and this information was so helpful!! Just purchased my domain and I am working on getting it all set up. Thank you so much for your insight! Much appreciated!

  12. says

    As a new blogger this post is so helpful. I had no idea about any of this! I’ll be working on making my blog legal first thing tomorrow morning. Thank you 🙂

  13. Kathy Moody says

    Thank you so much for the awesome info! I have a few things on my blog, but need to add more. I can’t wait to read more the series!! Fantastic job!!!

  14. says

    Usually it goes at the bottom- thanks for letting me know, apparently it disappeared when I updated my blog design! 🙁  Going to go fix that now! Thanks so much!!!

    Serendipity and Spice:
    An eclectic mix of crafting, cooking, DIY, family fun, and surviving life with a toddler! Follow along via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Google+

  15. rebeca says

    thank you for this post. it was so helpful. i created the copyright for my blog, but i am not sure where to put it . . . where is your copyright located on your blog? i could not find it.

  16. says

    Thank you so much for including the information about a privacy policy! That is important, for readers, but also for us, as bloggers. Whatever your privacy policy might be is your decision of course. The key is to state it clearly. A privacy policy template, or “generator”, is great, because it uses standardized wording. There were two suggestions in this post, and I’ve heard of a few more (don’t know which ones are better or if they are mostly the same content though).

  17. says

    Hi! Thanks so much for taking the time to write this post! I followed your advice and your video tutorial and added almost everything. I am having trouble getting the copyright on my blog. I am clicking on the html gadget and pasting the code in the content box but nothing shows up on my blog anywhere. What am I doing wrong?
    Thank you! ~farmlife chick

  18. says

    Thanks so much for making this so simple! I’ve been thinking about this for a while now, and had no idea where to start. I added all of these things, and now feel better that I’ve covered my butt, so to speak. 🙂 Thanks!

  19. MiaB says

    Thanks so much for this 🙂 it’s so helpful. I did all of it except I had one question, you probably put all of this stuff into some sort of pages, but I look in your header and it’s not on there. I realize that you have links to it on the bottom of your blog but how exactly did you do that? Thanks so much again and thanks for sharing this with us at Sharing Saturday.


  20. Ardith Goodwin says

    Found your blog through Pinterest and plan on coming back to it tomorrow to follow these steps! Great info, thank you.

  21. Carrie says

    Thanks for posting this. I took all your advice and legalized my blog. Thank you for sharing it all on Sharing Saturday as well. Have a great week!

  22. says

    I found you through I Heart Nap Time. I’m a new blogger, and I had no idea about the legal side. Thank you for breaking it all down.

  23. Christina at I Gotta Create! says

    Thank you so much for researching this and educating us! VERY helpful. Thanks so much for linking up!
    “Kiss Me I’m Irish” linky party now open
    “Blog Tips Cafe” linky party open all year!

  24. says

    Wow I had no idea about any of this stuff! I have had blogs for a while now, I just started my sewing one, but I’ve had one reviewing books for two years now! I’ve never thought of any legal matters!! Definitely going to look into a lot of this stuff now! Thanks for making it so easy!

    Btw, I found you at Marriage From Scratch!


  25. Danni Baird @ Silo Hill Farm says

    Thanks Melissa! You are always on top of it and I appreciate it! Now I have a little homework!

  26. Jessica Lucas says

    wow…that’s a lot of useful stuff, most of it i never even thought about. off i go to start the process. thanks for sharing!

  27. Pamela R says

    Wow this does seeem like important information but I too am confused as to how to get these “pages” to show up at the bottom of my page….I use blogger. Could you give us some tips?

  28. Alison @ Oopsey Daisy says

    Good advice. Sadly, I have had posts, photos, and even printables copied verbatim quite a few times and my copyright has saved me time and time again! Thanks for sharing at oopsey daisy!

  29. Jenny Melrose says

    Please help! I also cannot figure out how to get pages down at the bottom when I already have them up top. Thanks.

  30. Kelley says

    ok I’m a little overwhelmed and am gonna ask a stupid question most likely, how did you get do the links at the bottom to all this stuff without having a page heading at the top? I only see one for disclaimer and why does that have a page header and the others don’t?
    BTW I love the pic of your sweet baby and you in your new header

  31. Anne says

    thanks for all that! I’d never really thought about that stuff – like you, I figured who would care enough about my stuff to copy it much less try to pass it off as their own!! LOL

    Thanks for visiting me today.


  32. says

    Thanks. This is very helpful info. I was wondering about that kind of stuff. Noticed copyrights on some blogs, but not many. i’ll have to get on it. have a great weekend!
    Kim @ plumberry pie

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