Beginner’s Guide: Legal notices that website operators need to consider!

May 1, 2018

A dust-dry topic, but unfortunately theft, slander, plagiarism and insults are part of everyday life on the Internet.

Through the apparent anonymity, many users believe that they can do whatever they want.

Wordpress bloggers can tell you a thing or two about it. But you don't have to put up with everything.

There are also laws and rules on the Internet. If you observe these, you can also defend yourself effectively when disputes arise.

Even if it's your blog, not everything is allowed

In principle, you can post anything you want on your blog, but there are many legal pitfalls.

However, by abiding by the rules and unofficial blogger laws, you will avoid both legal problems and disputes with the blogger community.

It doesn't matter if you use WordPress or another program for your blog.

On the web, the good nursery is unfortunately quickly forgotten by bloggers and commentators alike.

However, insults, faecal language and threats are absolutely inappropriate and quickly destroy the atmosphere of a blog.

That such behaviors also strain the nerves becomes clear, if one looks at the numbers of the Blogger, which withdraw, at least for a time-out, from the net.

No two cases are alike

We have deliberately kept the tips listed here general, because each case must be considered and assessed in its own right.

Due to the confusing legal situation on the Internet, we can unfortunately only point out the most important pitfalls in connection with blogs.

Many problems also arise precisely from trivialities, i.e. small things that no one normally thinks of so simply.

Therefore you should check your blogs once more and pay attention to possible legal weak points. This way you offer the ubiquitous admonishers as little surface of attack as possible.

Since we are not allowed to offer you concrete legal advice here, you should always contact a lawyer for Internet law in case of uncertainties or problems for which no solution is shown here.

Legal advice is also often recommended in connection with copyrights.

What you should avoid altogether

Especially on the Internet it happened quickly. One writes oneself the frustration about a person or a company, about which one has been annoyed by the soul and crosses a border.

Insults that one would not pronounce face to face are quickly written down but are just as forbidden on the net as in real life and therefore absolutely to avoid.

So you should reconsider your article before insulting or even slandering anyone in anger.

Because nobody has to put up with that and can quickly lead to legal consequences.

And what's on the Internet is hard to get out of it.

Even if you delete or reformulate your original post, there is certainly still an image of the original post somewhere.

Just like in school, copying is forbidden

There is also a "pickle time" in the best blogs sometimes. Nothing new comes to mind, time is too short for creative contributions or the blogger simply has a writer's block.

Some contemporaries then make it easy and simply take posts from other blogs or websites. In the worst case even copied as 1:1.

Apart from the fact that this is unfair, it is also prohibited. Copyright protects the contributions of all authors, including bloggers.

Therefore, always get written permission if you want to use contributions (no matter if texts, pictures or videos) from other authors in your blog.

This also applies to partial use. You'll save yourself a lot of trouble. If you can't find the author, don't use the material.

Especially with regard to quotes, we know of some cases that have been fatal to bloggers in the past.

Not only that you can count with security with a warning when copying in the Internet, straight with contributions of larger portals or agencies with a warning, you harm thereby also still your own Blog.

Search engines recognize multiple, identical posts as "duplicate content" and automatically evaluate all pages on which it is found.

Give the child a name

Even before your first blog article, the hurdle of naming the blog is waiting for you. Besides the basic requirement that the name is still free, it should and must fulfill the following criteria:

  • The chosen web address is ideally memorable and original. It shouldn't be too long either.
  • However, the most important thing for a legally compliant website is that the name does not infringe the rights of others. In plain language, brand names and company names are taboo.
  • Even if the address is currently still available, a known company would be given preference in a legal dispute over the address. Names of print media and television formats are also prohibited.

Links, allowed and desired

Links are allowed as well as unproblematically, because you do not pretend an own contribution by the link, but only emphasize the contribution of the author.

The link gives the author more readers and more traffic. And everyone who runs his own internet presence is happy about that.

When is an imprint obligatory?

A private blog does not generally need an imprint. The fact that an imprint can still be found in many blogs is due to the uncertain legal situation on the Internet.

The judiciary seldom keeps up with the speed of the new media, which is why there are often no clear regulations or they are already outdated when they come into force.

However, if you also want to generate revenue with your blog, for example through advertising or a subscription system, the blog becomes commercial.

Then an imprint is mandatory. The amount of income is irrelevant here.

Even a low advertising income per month makes a website or blog commercial and obliges to create a legally compliant imprint.

Privacy policy and reference to the use of cookies

As an operator of a private blog, who does not plan to collect and evaluate the data of his visitors, you should nevertheless create a data protection declaration and place it in a viewable place without any problems.

Many blog operators use a CMS system such as WordPress or Joomla and these store the information about all users completely automatically.

The integration of a contact form is also part of the collection of personal data such as name, e-mail address and other details and therefore also requires a data protection declaration.

A further obligation to a data protection declaration arises if you include a social media plugin such as a like button.

In general, a cookie notice referring to the privacy policy should be integrated.

The data protection declaration for your website must contain the following:

  • To what extent is personal data collected?
  • The reason for the recording?
  • Is the transfer of the data planned or excluded and what are the conditions of transfer?
  • Explanation of the control mechanisms and complaint possibilities for users.

In addition, you as the operator have to explain which tools and applications you use to collect the data.

These include, for example:

  • Contact forms
  • Analysis tools
  • Newsletter subscriptions
  • Sweepstakes

You have to explain what you hope to get from the planned data collection and inform the visitors of your blog or your website about their right of objection.

You must provide the technical means to safeguard the right of objection.

Cookies are used to store and use data on almost every website.

These small text files, which are stored on the hard drive of a computer when you visit a website, are used to identify returning visitors or to display individualised advertisements.

You should describe and explain in detail the function and data use of your cookies in your Privacy Policy.

In principle, the collected data may only be used for the purpose for which you have collected it according to your data protection declaration.

A passing on is therefore only permitted for the fulfilment of the stated purpose. An example of this is the transfer to a shipping service provider after an online purchase.

Finally, you must also inform your users about the requirements for deleting the data you have collected.

The deletion must take place at the request of the user or if the reason for the collection has lapsed.

To the overview of the beginners guide.

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Myron Youshaei
As a commentator, copywriter and online editor I learned the appealing preparation of web content. This hunger for knowledge has driven me to find out more and more every day.
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