If you’re thinking of becoming a regular contributor or guest author on a blog then you should familiarize yourself with disclaimers and disclosures. These are placed on websites to tell visitors about the accuracy of the information presented, the use of links in posts and intellectual property rights. Here’s everything you need to know about disclaimers and disclosures from where to find them to what they mean.
What’s the Difference?
It’s important to note that disclaimers and disclosures aren’t the same thing, but they’re often found grouped together along with other information such as privacy rights, governing law, and advertisements. Very generally speaking, disclaimers relate more to the website stating up front that they aren’t making any specific claims or guarantees, while a disclosure applies more to the website releasing information, such as the use of certain third party advertising methods or sponsored posts.
Where to Look for Disclaimers and Disclosures
My first job after finishing undergrad at USF was a Quality Management/Risk Management/Corporate Compliance Coordinator for a healthcare system in New York. My very first assignment was working on contracts, something that I’d never really been exposed to before. What I learned from that experience — and what I apply daily at CopyPress — is to read everything. When I was first learning about contracts I would start reading, think I’d found what I was looking for, read a little further, and realize that there was more pertinent information to be found.
This same concept applies to disclosures and disclaimers. Although you’ve skimmed a couple of sections on a website and are content that there’s nothing to be found, or that what’s there isn’t a big deal, you should always push yourself to keep reading. Disclosures and disclaimers can be found almost anywhere on a website. However, these are the four most common areas:
- Disclaimer/Disclosure or Legal
- Write for Us
Common Components of Disclaimers and Disclosures
Here are four common components for disclaimers and what they mean, it’s helpful to understand what each part means whether you’re looking to contribute to a site or set up a disclosure for your own blog.
It’s also common to find information on intellectual property rights and copyright infringement. A website might have guidelines on contacting them if you believe that copyright infringement has occurred so that they can take the appropriate action. More detailed information on copyright laws in the US can be found here.
Sometimes websites have disclaimers or disclosures that indicate that the site accepts forms of compensation for posts; examples include sponsored posts and cash advertisements. Websites may sometimes try to disguise the fact that they accept compensation for posts in the way that they structure their statements, so it is important to be attentive to all aspects of disclosures and disclaimers. If you are just starting out in the world of authorship this may very well be a viable option to explore depending on your personal preferences.
Personal liability deals with an author being not only ethically, but also legally responsible for their work. These statements are also related to user activities on websites. For example, if you download software from a website and it contains a virus that damages your computer you did so at your own risk and the website is not responsible.
As with life, there’s always an exception to the rule when it comes to disclaimers and disclosures. While one website may not have anything even resembling a disclaimer or disclosure, another may present one that appears very strict and structured. Taking the extra moments to really look through and read a few of the sections on a website benefits you as you endeavor to become a regular contributor or guest author on a blog. It allows you to make a more educated decision as to whether or not it is a site where you would want your content posted. Read everything!