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Your Online Presence: 4 Legal Elements to Keep in Mind

Many say the web is like the Far West: a place with no rules where everything can happen. However, you would be surprised by how many laws exist to regulate our presence on the web. If you are a blogger, a social media influencer or an online retailer, keep on reading.

Of course, please take this as legal information and not legal advice. If you have any question regarding your intellectual property or would like our help to protect it, send us an email at info@artylaw.ca.

 

1) Protecting your users’ privacy

Do you collect personal data from your website users? According to the Personal Information Protection and Electronic Documents Act (PIPEDA), personal information is defined as information about an identifiable individual. This includes data regarding someone’s ethnicity, age, financial transactions they have been involved in, and more.

If you collect such information regarding your website’s users (especially if you have make online sales), you need a privacy policy explaining what data is being collected, when it’s being collected, how it is being collected and why.

If you have users in the European Union, you might also have to look into the EU’s latest privacy regulation, the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), as it also applies to businesses outside the EU that collect data from European users.

 

2) Newsletters and email communications

If you’re sending out newsletters or marketing communications via email, Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation requires three elements: 1) you need consent from your users (express or implied), 2) you need to provide identification information about your company, and 3) you need to provide your users with an unsubscribe mechanism.

Before sending out any communications to your clients or readers, make sure you are compliant with Canada’s Anti-Spam Legislation.

 

3) Using other people’s content

Creating visual content is a very demanding process, so many website owners/social media users decide to use images they have not created themselves.

According to Canada’s Copyright Act, you cannot use other people’s content without their express permission, regardless of whether or not you are making money off that content (some exceptions apply). Doing so is copyright infringement and might put you in legal trouble with the rightful copyright owner.

If you’d like to use someone else’s work, contact them beforehand and get their permission. You may also want to look into royalty free images or purchase a subscription to a stock content website. Make sure to read the licensing terms before using these images. Not all of them allow commercial use of the images and some might require attribution.

 

4) Sponsored posts

With the rise of influencer marketing comes a set of legal guidelines and regulations that need to be followed. For instance, you absolutely need to disclose any material connection between you and another company.

If you are being paid to talk about a product, to create content around a product or if you are featuring a product you have received for free, you need to disclose it in a very clear and transparent manner, by using a disclaimer in your blog post or by using hashtags such as #ad or #sponsored in your social media posts.

 

Once again, please take this as legal information and not legal advice. If you have any questions regarding your online presence, send us an email at info@artylaw.ca or click here to schedule a consultation.

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