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Why your author website probably needs a privacy policy.

Filed in Education — October 12, 2023

Note that I said probably. You probably do need a privacy policy to ensure that your author website is legally compliant.

Why the qualifier? Because before we go any further on this thorny topic, I need to make one thing exceedingly clear:

I am not a lawyer, and cannot (and should not!) offer legal advice.

I want to be very clear on that. Nothing on this page constitutes or replaces actual legal advice from an actual attorney. The below information is meant to make you aware of general website legality best practices, and NOT to advise you on how to do implement them to avoid legal ramifications.

If that sounds like a cop-out, think about it this way:

You wouldn’t ask your interior designer to install the track lighting in your kitchen; you’d hire an electrician. You don’t want your web designer to advise you on legal matters; you’d hire a lawyer.

Here’s why you should care about this:

It is the responsibility of the business owner (you, the author) to write your own Privacy Policy/Terms and Conditions and to ensure legal compliance, not the designer (me), because:

  1. you know more about the nature and configuration of your business. It may vary based on your location, business set-up, etc.;
  2. you are the one who collects user information, fulfills orders, and manages your business operations;
  3. you are the website’s owner, and therefore will be held responsible for any legal noncompliance.

Which again, brings us back to the initial question. Do you need a Privacy Policy on your author website, and why?

My understanding (again, not a a lawyer!) is that you at least need a Privacy Policy, and perhaps a Terms page as well. Other additional legal disclaimers may also be required depending on the nature of your business (if you sell digital/physical products directly, etc). 

Here is a link I found helpful on the topic:

Still not sure where to start?

Here’s what I do for my own author website:

I purchased and implemented the Privacy Policy and Terms & Conditions page from The Contract Shop. Below is an affiliate link if you’re interested.