Legal policies that digital creators need to have

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Whether you own a photography website that features your photos, sell hand-made goods online, or run a travel blog, there are certain legal policies digital creators need to have.

Some are legally required, like tax and VAT details, privacy policies, and cookie consent management. Other business best practices that protect your content and keep your users properly informed include terms and conditions agreements, shipping policies, and disclaimers. 

Keep reading to learn what legal policies your website needs, why they’re needed, and how to create them easily. 

What Legal Policies Do Digital Creators Need to Have?

Depending on your industry, location, and the location of your consumers, digital creator’s websites need to have a mix of some or all of the following types of policies:

  • Privacy policy
  • Cookie policy
  • Terms and conditions agreement
  • Copyrights and other disclaimers
  • VAT/Tax information
  • Other policies like return and refund or shipping policies

But before explaining why each one is important, let’s discuss the difference between the policies that are legally required and the ones that are a best practice to publish on your site. 

Legally Required Policies vs. Business Best Practices

Different laws and regulations require certain legal policies—if your site doesn’t have these, you could face fines, civil lawsuits, and additional penalties. 

For example, data privacy laws like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) require websites to present users with a clear, accurate privacy policy.

Other policies aren’t required by any laws. However, they are still essential to post on your website to keep visitors properly informed, protect your brand from liabilities, and streamline administrative processes.

If you don’t post these on your site, it can hurt your brand and leave you vulnerable if someone uses your products or services in a way that causes suffering or harm. 

For example, if such an incident occurs, a terms and conditions agreement may hold up in a court of law despite it being an optional policy, especially if you can prove your visitors read and agreed to the terms. 

Now, let’s walk through the extensive list of policies — and don’t worry, I’ll let you know which ones are legally required and which aren’t. 

Privacy Policy

A privacy policy is one of the most critical legally required documents digital creators need, so make sure the details of yours follow all privacy laws that apply to your website.

While each privacy law is slightly different, most typically require the following details in a compliant privacy policy:

  • What personal data you collect.
  • Your purpose or legal basis for processing the data.
  • How the personal data gets used. 
  • If the personal data is shared or sold to any third parties.
  • What rights users have over their data and how to act on those rights.
  • How to contact you if they have questions or comments.
  • The last updated date.

Digital creators can easily make one of these policies using a privacy policy generator backed by a legal team. Look for one that features clauses as required by data privacy laws that are relevant to your website. 

Privacy policy generator form by Termly for collecting user location and other information.

Once you’ve created your policy, post it in easy-to-find spots throughout your site. A good rule of thumb is to include a link to it wherever data collection occurs.

Cookie Policy and Consent Management

Cookie policies are also legally required documents digital creators need to post on websites because internet cookies technically qualify as personal data under privacy laws, so your use of them is subject to notification and consent requirements.  

Your cookie policy must include the following details: 

  • What cookies are used by your website
  • The purpose for their use
  • A description of what rights and controls visitors have over those cookies
  • How they can act on those controls

To find out what cookies your site uses, scan it using a free online cookie scanner tool, and then use a cookie policy generator to automatically create an accurate policy for your site. 

Termly's cookie policy generator explaining what cookies are and how they can be controlled.

Additionally, these laws give consumers the right to opt out of or into certain types of data processing, including: 

  • The selling of their data
  • Targeted advertising
  • The collection of sensitive categories of information

If you use cookies for any of these purposes, a Consent Management Platform (CMP) can help you track, log, and manage your website visitors’ consent preferences in a legally compliant way. 

Automatically manage consent on your website with Termly's consent management platform.

CMPs allow you to present your website visitors with a cookie consent banner, preference center, and sometimes a Data Subject Access Request (DSAR) form, which helps you more easily meet the consent requirements outlined by privacy laws. 

Terms and Conditions Agreement

Technically, no laws require digital creators to post a terms and conditions agreement on their site, but it’s a business best practice to do so. 

People expect to find this document on your website, and being transparent in your terms helps build trust with your consumers. 

These policies let your site visitors know vital information, including: 

  • The rules of use and prohibited actions you expect users to follow when accessing your services.
  • The guidelines for when an account gets removed or terminated from your site. 
  • Your copyright information.
  • Your dispute resolutions and governing laws. 

You can create one by using a comprehensive terms and conditions generator that includes clauses relevant to digital creators, such as payment terms, account creation guidelines, and ownership of intellectual property rights. 

Termly's terms and conditions generator form detailing platform type and legal terms.

Copyright and DMCA Laws and Disclaimers

For digital content creators, it’s vital to have certain disclaimers to protect the materials posted on your site, like a copyright disclaimer and a Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) notice. 

While these aren’t technically legally required, having them on your site can help strengthen your case if you’re ever hit with a copyright strike or someone steals or misuses your content. 

Similarly, if you use or reference materials posted on your site and are not the copyright owner, a copyright disclaimer can help prove you’re using the materials in a legally compliant manner.

VAT/Taxes

Depending on your location, you may need to charge sales tax or value-added tax (VAT) for the goods or services you provide. 

For example, if you have consumers from certain regions, you might be legally required to register for VAT in those countries before selling your products there. 

While digital goods are sometimes exempt from these taxes, this is becoming less common. 

You can use a service that automatically includes VAT and sales tax rates, such as selling through Amazon or setting up a Patreon.  

Otherwise, you’ll have to handle this yourself or work with a financial advisor who is familiar with the tax laws that apply to your website. 

Other Essential Legal Policies

Digital creators exist in nearly every industry, so depending on what products and services you provide, you might need some or all of the following other essential legal policies: 

  • Shipping policy: Digital creators who ship physical products can benefit from posting a shipping policy on their site. This lets users know vital information, like where you ship to, how long it might take, and what the rates look like. 
  • Return and refund policy: For digital creators who sell goods, a return and refund policy is necessary because it informs consumers about what items are eligible for returns, the process for submitting them, and what type of refund they can expect. 
  • Acceptable use policy: Some digital creators own websites that foster a community of users. In this case, an acceptable use policy acts as a set of clear rules and guidelines that consumers must follow to continue using your platform. 
  • End-user license agreement (EULA): If you create digital products like mobile apps, publishing a EULA can help protect your services and prevent users from copying, selling, and distributing your app. 

Summary

As a digital creator, you rely on your website to help build your brand reputation, interact with consumers, and push your products. 

Set your website up for long-term success by ensuring you post all of the essential legal policies as necessary, including ones that are required by law and the ones that are proven to be effective. 

Have a process in place for regularly updating your policies so they’re always up-to-date and accurate. This helps ensure you meet legal requirements and keeps your consumers informed, allowing your business to thrive. 


Masha Komnenic
Masha Komnenic
Masha is the Director of Global Privacy @ Termly and has been a privacy compliance mentor to many international business accelerators. She specializes in implementing, monitoring, and auditing business compliance with privacy regulations (HIPAA, PIPEDA, ePrivacy Directive, GDPR, CCPA, POPIA, LGPD). Masha studied Law at Belgrade University and passed the Bar examination in 2016.
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