Guide to Laws for Bloggers in California
If you’re a blogger, there are some important areas of the law you should know about to protect your work and help you stay out of legal trouble. And as always, speak to a lawyer before taking any major actions (or decisions not to act) based on this information.
1. Laws about Internet, Social Media, and Email
This is an obvious area of law for bloggers, but it changes pretty frequently so be sure to keep up at our Guide to Internet Law in California.
2. Reviews and/or endorsing products or services
Do I need to disclose my relationship to products I review or endorse?
If you have an affiliate relationship with a company (they give you a cut for sales you direct to them) and you publish a review or endorsement of that company’s products, you must disclose that affiliate relationship.1see FTC guidance on testimonials and endorsements
3. Privacy Law
If you write about or post photos of people, you need to know about privacy law in California.
It’s very important to have a good understanding of copyright law, in order to protect your own work, and to avoid being sued for copyright infringement.
5. Free Speech
You should generally know about free speech rights and laws.
If you write about “newsworthy” stories, you should know about the laws for journalists in California.
7. Business Law
Is my blog a business?
If you make any money from your blog, such as through advertising, e-commerce, or other means, you are a business. Thus you need to know about California business law.
Can I protect my blog name and prevent others from using it?
If you are making any money from your blog, you may have rights to the blog name. This is called “trademark.”
Exercise Your Rights
- If you believe you have been hacked, contact local law enforcement (use non-emergency number unless your physical safety is at risk) and/or file a complaint with the Internet Criminal Complaint Center
- File a complaint about wi-fi or cell signal jamming
- Find a social media lawyer, privacy lawyer, or copyright lawyer