Any church or organization Web site should go the extra mile to protect users and members privacy, be specific about the intended use of the Web site and comply with copyright laws. Here is an overview of these critical responsibilities of maintaining a Web site and maintaining a dynamic Web ministry.
If your Web site is designed specifically for children under the age of 13, there are specific legal requirements under the COPPA law of 1998 that you will want to know and implement. Learn more about cybersafety with children and implementing the COPPA requirements for Web sites specifically aimed at children under 13:
If you do display recognizable images of children or youth on your Web site, or adults for that matter, it is a best practice not to identify them by name in the accompanying text, as a caption or as the title of the image file. In this way, you make it more difficult for cyber-predators to exploit this personal information.
If it’s not absolutely necessary to display a particular person’s photograph, like a staff member, consider using stock photos. Generally speaking, you want to convey that your church is child-friendly or has a vibrant youth ministry or is ethnically diverse. If these things are true, then any photo depicting these characteristics will do nicely because most visitors to your site wouldn’t know or care that the photo is of an actual church member.
Recently, OneLicense.net announced it can provide a blanket license for Web use of recorded music from dozens of publishing companies. This is similar to the CCLI and CVLI licensing your church may already have for live worship or other ministry purposes. However, you have to be a part of OneLicense’s general copyright license program in order to add the audio or video sharing option.
The full extent of copyright law, fair use and other issues related to the Internet is well beyond the scope of this page. Listed below are additional links for more information, and we recommend you consult a copyright attorney with specific questions or concerns. Suffice it to say that if it’s copyrighted material, you must obtain permission from the copyright holder in order to legally display it on your Web site.
Sample Polices, Tips and Helps: