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KEEP YOUR WEBSITE LEGAL

We seriously doubt that anyone running a movie making or AV making club website would fall foul of the law but do be careful - being an amateur and not making a profit are no excuses in law.

Remember that anyone, anywhere in the world can see your website. So can lots of "spiders" (programs which explore the web looking for specific information) checking for what is said about trademarked products, what music or pictures are used and so on.

Drop it

One important principle: if anyone asks for something to be removed from the website, don't argue but do so as quickly as you can. Nothing on a club website is worth upsetting people for … or getting the club into legal proceedings.


Disclaimer

We are not lawyers, so the best we can do is give this advice in good faith. Many laws apply to businesses selling goods or services. Others apply to pornography. We have not looked at those. Our comments only apply to the United Kingdom. (In these matters the laws in England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales seem to us very similar.) If you are in any doubt, check with your lawyer.

More Information

Readers with legal concerns can visit www.website-law.co.uk - the notes are helpful, but bear in mind this is a site run by a law firm looking for work!


Data Protection

The Data Protection Act 1998 is intended to prevent personal information from being misused. The law and most commentaries on it are concerned with business use. A readable summary is at the Out-Law website.

For club websites we recommend getting the consent of anyone whose contact details are shown (address, phone number or email).

A gallery of member portraits should only include those who have given their consent. Any general photographs taken at meetings, social events or on a shoot should be used with care. Do not mock or ridicule anyone and do not show anyone who prefers not to be identified.

This may seem over-the-top, but one of us worked beside a woman, whose ex partner had tried more than once to kidnap their child. The mother had moved to another country but specifically did not want her name or photograph to be used anywhere public in case it helped him track them down.

Perhaps this issue is best dealt with by a sentence in the membership cards or an annual announcement by the Chairman asking anyone who has concerns about their picture or name appearing in club publications, publicity for shows or on the website to speak to him/her privately.

Copyright

Do not steal words or pictures from other websites.

Most of what you see online is copyright. An equipment supplier would not mind you using an image of their product in a review … but Pat Jones will be rightly annoyed if your use one of her pictures, nor will Chris Smith like you copying paragraphs from one of his articles. And don't think that because you run a small website you cannot get caught. There are companies using sophisticated technology to search the web constantly for unauthorised use of copyright images, text or music.

99% of the time all you have to do is ask.

If you find something on another website or in a non-commercial magazine contact the webmaster/editor and the author concerned. Offer to give credit to the author and the website/magazine where you found it. Most webmasters and editors are very helpful and will also pass requests on to authors if you cannot contact them directly.

Videos

We do not recommend hosting videos yourself. Embedding videos which are hosted on YouTube, Vimeo and other video hosts insulates your website pretty well from any copyright problems with library video footage or with music. If there are questions the video hosting company contacts whoever put the movie online not you. If you put it up - then make sure all the copyrights are cleared.


There is some freely available material online, but check the small print. We sometimes use in these articles pictures from stock.xchng  It has pictures you pay for as well a free ones. Some of the free ones require you to let the artist know if you use their work and occasionally you must seek their permission in advance.

The Creative Commons scheme has made it much easier for us all. It is a half-way house. The authors and artists retain copyright but grant the rest of us rights to use their work in certain ways without payment or even having to ask.

There are six forms of Creative Commons Licence, so check which applies. These are all free, not something you have to buy like IAC Copyright Licences - merely terms and conditions the authors set out. Most ask for a credit or that it be used only for non-commercial purposes.


A pretty clear guide to UK copyright law for webmasters is at copyright facts and myths.

Defamation / Libel

Disability Discrimination

Common sense will tell you that since everything is public, you should be sure that nothing on your website might cause embarrassment.

This does NOT mean you cannot criticise, but be careful.

  • "I found xyz difficult to use, the lens was poor and to my ears the sound was weak" is fine.
  • "xyz is complete sh*t!" is not.

For a straightforward guide to this potentially complicated field we recommend you read:  Basic Libel for Idiots.

The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (amended 2005) applies mainly to websites offering jobs or practical services. Generally it encourages good practice things we hope you would already be doing: making text easy to read with good contrast between type and page; filling in the "alt text" tags under pictures so that visually-impaired people browsing with screen readers can understand. ("Visually-impaired" covers not only registered blind, but colour blindness, cataract and tunnel vision.)

A good general guide is W3C's Web Content Accessibility Guidelines ("W3C" = The World Wide Web Consortium, the main international standards organisation for the internet.)

Who are you?

In many countries it is a legal requirement to state the name of the organisation publishing a website, a postal address and the name/s of senior officials. In England and Wales that applies only to businesses and companies, but it is good practice for everyone. It helps to reassure visitors that the club is real and not some kind of scam.

You would normally give the address where you meet, and/or the address of an officer such as the Secretary.


Website Makeover Guides - Introduction

What Should the Content Be? | Navigation | Planning Navigation | Anchors & Links | Words | Getting Pictures | Getting & Using Pictures
Processing Pictures | Video | Presentation Pictures | Colours | Layout Principles | Layout Schemes | Fonts | What is SEO?
Search Engine Factors | Check Your Search Ranking | Stay Legal | Website Health Check | Website No Goes more to come ...

A Beginner's Guide to Creating a Club Website with Weebly

Don't Panic! | Signing up to Weebly | Making your first (elegant) page | Adding more pages and navigation
Adding pictures and words | Creating a complex Coming Soon Page | Adding Forms, Emails, Maps and Videos.

IAC Competition to find the Best Club Website 2011


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Page updated on 16 January 2011
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