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July 11, 2011

How Giving a Bad Review Can Bring You Legal Trouble

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Recently the world learned about the case of, Liu, a Taiwanese blogger who was arrested and given a 30-day suspended sentence for giving a restaurant a bad review.

Liu’s case has drawn so much attention because of how outrageous it seems. To be arrested and convicted criminally for giving a restaurant a bad review seems insane, especially in the U.S. and other nations that put a high value on free speech.

But while Liu’s case may be an extreme one, bad reviews are actually fraught with legal peril. To be clear, many of the legal problems that are associated with negative reviews also hold true for positive ones but companies and individuals tend to be far more angry and far more litigious about people saying bad things rather than good ones.

So, if you’re looking to write a negative review, here are a few things to watch out for as they could be levers that your target might use against you and your site in an attempt to silence you, justly or unjustly. read more

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December 14, 2009

5 Legal Issues to Watch in 2010

The blogging legal climate is one of constant change. Though certain issues will always be of critical importance to bloggers, as they will to anyone who is a part of mass media, there is always a great deal that’s in flux.

This is especially true for bloggers as legislators and judges are just beginning to take on many of the complicated issues that blogging and democratized media brings with it. But where 2009 was a busy year for bloggers on the legal front, 2010 promises to be even more so.

In many ways, 2009 was a set up year for what is going to happen in 2010. In fact, the easiest way to decide what will likely be some of the hottest legal topics in the new year is to look back over the past one and see where the dominoes are likely to fall.

With that in mind, here are five legal areas bloggers should be paying attention to in the new year as they have the potential to be major forces in the blogging world. read more

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October 12, 2009

5 Smart Legal Steps for Your Blog

Rapidly the “Wild West” days of blogging are coming to an end legally. As blogging becomes more mainstream as a form of media, so does the legal issues that confronts it. No longer an outlier, blogs are actively competing with newspapers and even television in terms of journalism, audience and trendsetting.

But this has brought with it a slew of new legal headaches. Blogging has become the target for copyright holders, celebrities and even the FTC. There are very real and very serious legal risks associated with blogging and it is important to be aware of them.

So what are some steps you can take to avoid legal headaches with your blog? There are actually too many to list and much of it just comes down to operating in good faith. However, there are a handful of very simple things that you can do to improve your legal position and lessen the likelihood that you’ll be on the wrong end of a lawsuit and also strengthen your own rights.

Just some of the basics are below. read more

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August 12, 2009

Advertising body calls for disclosure in blog reviews

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Disclosure on blogs is one hot topic at the moment. The FTC is already looking at regulating blogs and this week the National Advertising Review Council (NARC) has called out two companies for unethical practises.

The group found that Herbal Groups, Inc. and Urban Nutrition had posted reviews for products they owned, yet failed to disclose that fact.

Urban Nutrition has since added disclosure to its web site, stating “Urban Nutrition sponsors this Web site and distributes Miracle Burn, Miracle Burn Cream, and Arctic Essentials. Reviewers compensated by Urban Nutrition.” read more

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Facebook To Crack Down on Sponsored Status Updates

FacebookFacebook has decided to keep its platform clean from advertisements ran by its users in a proposed update to the Statements of Rights and Responsibilities Site Governance.

2. You will not use your personal profile for your own commercial gain (such as selling your status update to an advertiser).

Facebook users have time to leave feedback on the proposed changes until 18th August 10.00PDT. read more

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