Does Your Website Need Legal Disclaimers?

Here's the The Quick Answer...

Legal disclaimers are important to include on a website because they  serve as a way to protect the site owner, as well as the users of the website.  Including them helps ensure that the site is in compliance with relevant laws and regulations.

Read on for more detail...

Who Reads That Stuff?

Have you ever actually read the boring fine print on the bottom of a website? Have you even clicked the link to anyone's privacy policy or terms of service...let alone, actually read those documents?

And what the heck is a Cookie Policy, anyway?

While reading these paragraphs of yawn-inducing material may be a good cure for insomnia, the fact is, they really need to be there.

Website legal disclaimers are a bit like insurance. We ignore it until we need it.  Then, when you are in trouble, it's not so boring.

It's important for these legal notifications to appear on a website for a variety of reasons. These disclaimers serve as a way to protect the website owner, as well as the users of the website, by clarifying the terms of use, outlining the limitations of liability, and outlining any applicable legal protections.


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is a government agency that regulates advertising and marketing practices, and it requires that websites include certain disclosures in order to protect consumers.

This regulation helps clarify the differemce between editorial reporting and paid advertising or affiliate compensation.  That's how the Internet colloquialism advertorial became an accepted word.

For example, if a website is promoting a product or service in the form of an article or content that appears to be news or unbiased information, that page must include a disclaimer that clearly states that the website owner is being compensated for the promotion of the product or service. This is to ensure that the author is not misleading users about the nature of their relationship with the offer being promoted.

Affiliate marketers are especially is need of providing this kind of legal notice in their website content since the nature of that business model is based on referral marketing.


In addition to FTC regulations, websites may also need to include legal disclaimers in order to comply with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA). The DMCA is a federal law that protects website owners from copyright infringement. It provides a safe harbor for websites that host user-generated content, such as forums or comment sections, by limiting the website owner's liability for any copyright infringing material that is posted by users. In order to qualify for this safe harbor protection, a website must have a DMCA policy in place that outlines the steps that the website owner will take to remove infringing material upon receiving a notice of copyright infringement.

GDPR and Privacy

Another reason to include legal disclaimers on a website is to protect the privacy of users. A privacy policy is a legal document that outlines how a website collects, uses, and shares personal information about its users. This policy is required by law in some jurisdictions, such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which imposes strict rules on how websites can handle personal data. A privacy policy helps to ensure that users are aware of how their personal information is being used and gives them the opportunity to opt-out of certain types of data collection.

Acceptable Terms of Use

In addition to privacy policies, websites may also include terms of use, which outline the rules and conditions that govern the use of the website. These terms of use may include provisions related to acceptable use, such as prohibiting the use of the website for illegal or malicious purposes, as well as provisions related to intellectual property, such as prohibiting the unauthorized use of copyrighted material.

It may seem redundant to provide a copyright warning in an AUP (Acceptable Use Policy) notice when you also have a Copyright notice, but redundancy is better than missing information when it comes to legal matters.


A copyright notice is probably the most basic and oldest form of legal disclaimer.  Even hard-copy, physical documents have had copyright disclaimers for decades before there was an Internet.

This statement simply informs users that the content on a website is protected by copyright law and may not be used without permission. This notice helps to deter users from using the content on the website without permission and also serves as a reminder to users that the website owner has the right to take legal action against anyone who infringes on their copyright.

Cookie Policy

A cookie policy  explains how the website uses browser cookies, which are small pieces of data that are stored on a user's device when they visit a website. Cookies are used for remembering user preferences, tracking website usage, and retargeting ads.

Including a cookie policy helps to ensure that the website is in compliance with privacy laws, such as the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). Under the GDPR, websites are required to obtain consent from users before using cookies that collect personal data. A cookie policy helps to clearly outline how cookies are used on the website and provides users with information about their options for managing their cookie settings.

In addition to compliance with privacy laws, a cookie policy can also help to build trust with users. By clearly explaining how cookies are used on the website, website owner can demonstrate their commitment to transparency and user privacy. This can help to increase user confidence in the website and may encourage users to continue visting and engaing with the website content.


Including links to legal disclaimers allows website owners a way to ensure that they are in compliance with rulea and regulations, and that they are properly protecting the interests of their site visitors.

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