Legal guide for bloggers


in Geek stuff, Internet matters, Law, Writing

Andrea Simms-Karp winking

For those who are serious about their blogging, or simply concerned about the legal ramifications of the practice, the Electronic Frontier Foundation has a Bloggers’ Legal Guide available.

While it is focused on American law, the general principles and issues discussed are likely to be relevant elsewhere. Issues covered include intellectual property, defamation, the legal status of bloggers as journalists, and more. It also includes a page specifically for students.

People living in countries that have weaker protections for free speech might be better served by the BBC’s guide: How to avoid libel and defamation. On a side note, I certainly hope that British law evolves away from requiring the author to prove their comments were justified and towards requiring the person or organization alleging libel or defamation to prove that such things took place. The current approach encourages frivolous lawsuits and drives journalists to bury or tone down stories without due cause.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

. May 19, 2009 at 12:10 pm

HOWTO keep your parody site safe from legal bullies

By Cory Doctorow on Copyfight

Hugh sez, “The Electronic Frontier Foundation’s Corynne McSherry has put together a great whitepaper with tips on how to avoid having your parody or gripe site shut down.”

Here’s a story we hear a lot at EFF: You think BadCo, Inc. is a bad actor and you’ve developed a really cool site to tell the world why. Maybe just by griping about them or maybe through a bit of parody. Fast forward two weeks: you’re basking in the pleasure of calling BadCo out when bam! You find out your site’s been shut down. You call your internet service provider to find out what’s going on. After way too much time climbing phone trees and sitting on hold you get an answer–Badco has claimed that your site violates its intellectual property rights.

All too often, the targets of critics and parodists try to strike back with accusations of copyright or trademark infringement. While such accusations may be something of a badge of honor–after all, at the very least, it means you’ve got your target’s attention–they can also be frustrating and intimidating. And, if you rely on a service provider with little interest in protecting free speech, allegations of infringement can result in your site being shut down with little or no warning.

. February 13, 2011 at 10:29 pm

Employers should think twice before trying to restrict workers from talking about their jobs on Facebook or other social media. That’s the message the government sent on Monday as it settled a closely watched lawsuit against a Connecticut ambulance company that fired an employee after she went on Facebook to criticize her boss in 2009.”

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