Blogger sued over comments left on Blog

The guru behind SEO Book Aaron Wall (who for the record is also advertising here with BlogAds) is being sued by Traffic-Power.com in relation to comments left on his blog by other people.

More details on Aarons blog here. Intuitive Systems also has more details. Robert Scoble, in a fit of insanity is suggesting that the solution is to moderate or turn off your comments. How bout free speech Scoble?

If successful the case has the potential to cause major upheaval in the blogosphere as comments would need to be filtered in cases where there was even the slightest chance someone might sue or find the comment offensive or disagree with it.

Mght be time to update the disclosure and editorial statement.

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Comments

  1. says

    I suppose defamation has to come into the blogosphere somewhere. Many blogs are extremely influential, and lies can do harm.

  2. says

    One of the comments on Aaron’s blog entry about this (and I have no idea about the actual legal authenticity, just what was claimed in the comment) was that if you have ever modified, edited or deleted comments on your blog it changes your legal status to a publisher — as opposed to a “common carrier” like say a telephone company. The commenter said if that’s the case, you are by law responsible for the content of the comments on your blog and disclaimers and so on don’t change that fact.

    If that’s true, it’s pretty scary really. It is another blow for freedom of speech, if we have to make sure any contentious, challenging or even just passionate content is filtered out in case someone decides they have it in for you…

    Blah. :-(

  3. says

    I agree with scoble. If this guy is getting sued over other people’s content/comments, then he should not have to take a chance.

    That is the only quick solution to the problem that I see.

  4. says

    MGerlach310
    respect that I diagree. I’m not a lawyer and I’m not in a position ot ascertain what someone is going to sue about. If I had to get a lawyer in to advise me on this then I’m out of blogging because the costs would outway the return. this particular case is also heavy handed, because they’ve not delivered a removal letter, they’ve just gone straight to suing as well. Not a good thing in anyones books.

  5. says

    From Molly Halzschlag’s blog entry: molly.com » Blogging is An Act of Courage:

    “The way I see it, if you want a blog to be interesting, particularly from a business perspective, it has to be personal, authentic and even controversial. Otherwise, don’t blog – it’s not going to be interesting.”

    The issue of comments is another altogether. Following a link on ProBlogger I got this:

    Online libel: How to avoid (Connected Internet News | Broadband Mobile Gaming News):

    David Carr, a director with Big Blog Company, but also a lawyer, said:

    “Site owners do not have to police their comments, but if someone posts something that is potentially libellous, you are obliged to take it down if someone tells you that they think it is libellous.

    This however, puts bloggers in a difficult situation, because if the statement proves to be true rather than libellous, then if by removing it your actions could be deemed libellous.”

    He goes on to say that you can protect yourself somewhat by adding in your disclaimer that comments are published cos you say so and you can allow or remove comments as you see fit… worth a read.

  6. says

    “What about free speech?”
    So we could post anything we wanted in these comments and it wouldnt get moderated then?
    Basically, the problem here is that the guy the law deems responsible for the comments isn’t the guy who wrote the comment. It’s stupid. The commenter should be tracked down and sued if it’s such a big deal.

  7. says

    You show a sad understanding of “Free Speech”. That’s a political term, and has nothing to do with private press or writing.

    Guess there’s little reasont o read the Blog Herald with this kind of reasoning displayed.

  8. says

    Come on people, get some perspective.

    The supposed lawsuit is in Nevada, where you can rent a lawsuit as easily as you can get married.

    We are not ‘courageous’ just because we have a blog,and we’re not all going to be sued starting tomorrow. This is not about free speech, which has to do with government censorship of those in dissent — this is about civil lawsuits and and the world of SEO. It’s not even about liability — the lawsuit implied infringement of trade secrets.

    Look under your beds, children. I’m sure a boogy man is there, waiting to chew off your legs.

  9. says

    Hey Duncan,

    Talk about lack of reasoning…The Stalwart has suggested he’s going to stop reading your blog because he doesn’t agree with this single post. IMHO that’s the kind of reader you’re better off without.

    Anyways, I would argue that anything that threatens a person’s ability to hold a conversation in public, be it online or in person, is indeed a threat to free speech. Whether the term “Freedom of speech” is political or not is hardly even relevant…this is a matter of morals. Holding one person responsible for what another person writes is moronic at best.

    Keep up the great work. The Blog Herald in one of my favorite reads!

    Cheers!

  10. NtvAmrcn says

    I get confused all the time about how everyone screams about “freedom of speech”. Freedom of speech is not freedom to lie. Maybe someone should sue all the msm for slander and lies.

  11. says

    NtvAmrcn
    I couldn’t agree more, but one mans lies in another mans opinion. There’s a difference between not liking a product and saying so and libel. What we are talking about here is, so I understand, is a difference of opinion.

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