Congratulations! You have taken your art online. Perhaps you have set it up to sell your work online, too. Good for those of you who have. It’s my humble opinion you should have e-commerce enabled on your site. You put too much into making your art and building your site not to let it work entirely for you.
Let me start by telling you I am not a lawyer and while I believe the advice I’m giving you is accurate; it is not a legal opinion. It’s coming from an informed layman. If you have serious legal questions or concerns, it is always in your best interest to consult with an attorney.
Let’s Review Each Item
Make sure you include these things:
You will also find this section of a website called Terms and Conditions. Either way, it is a document that tells visitors how you conduct your business on your site. It also sets forth your expectations for how you expect them to behave and act on your site. It is a contract of sorts and a potential “bacon saver” for sure.
Your Terms of Service (TOS) can help you protect your intellectual property, potentially limit your legal liabilities in most cases, and help you resolve issues with payments owed to you. It provides a roadmap that can help you settle disputes regarding the use of your site and purchases made from it.
You will want to consider covering these items, and possibly more:
Whenever you sell things, you have to expect to get refund requests. Being ready for them and posting your policies makes things easier all around. The more quickly found clear and distinct your policy, the better for all. An active refund policy will help protect you from potential legal issues.
You do not have to accept refunds, although I can’t imagine why you would not. Current EU laws don’t give you that discretion. If you are shipping or selling in Europe, it’s the law.
Providing this information in your refund policy is a good start. You may need to add more:
Wikihow.com offers this useful article: How to Write Terms and Conditions – there are other valuable resources to be found searching the Internet.
Duh! Make sure you have an easy-to-find link on your site that leads to a page with your contact information. If you have a physical or retail location, include a map. You will want to include your name, postal mailing address, phone number, and email address. Also, posting your hours of operation and any policies regarding timeframes on replies are useful in building trust with site visitors.
Although IP protections are mentioned in the TOS section, for artists, in particular, it’s a good idea to have a separate Copyright Notification link and page. You don’t want or need any ambiguities regarding your copyrights.
With a Copyright Notice, you tell your visitors that they do not have rights or consent to use your content without your permission in writing. This notice includes using your images or material in any way.
If you do allow the use of your materials, this is a good place to spell out the details. Many artists, photographers, writers and bloggers use the rules and licenses set forth by the Creative Commons organization.
Your Copyright Notification page should contain your name or your business name, the Copyright symbol ©, and the year your site was established.
While this information is helpful, it will likely need to be augmented to fit your situation. It gives you a good place to start. You cannot afford to ignore providing legal information to your site visitors.
If you advertise on Facebook and elsewhere without giving this information, you run the risk of your advertising being blocked, or your site being banned. So besides having common courtesy, being professional and thorough, you will want to implement these suggestions to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings with your customers, site visitors, and advertising partners.