October 12, 2009
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
Tags: copyright, Disclosure, law, Legal, Privacy, trademark
September 23, 2009
PicApp, the image Website that lets small-time bloggers use big-time images, has rolled out several changes designed to make user’s lives a bit easier. read more
Tags: blog, free, images, Legal
August 10, 2009
In copyright law, the big news is always made by cases such as the Jammie Thomas verdict, the Tenenbaum trial or even The Pirate Bay trial in Sweden. As importance as these cases are, their legal applicability to the average person is dubious, especially since the RIAA has stopped suing file sharers.
For the cases that could have a direct impact on your life, you often have to dig deeper. This is true for the case of Brayton Purcell LLP v. Recordon & Recordon, a seemingly dull case about two law firms in a dispute over content posted on their respective Web sites.
However a recent decision by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in the case, if upheld by other circuits or the Supreme Court, could have a drastic impact on the way copyright issues are litigated in the United States.
How big is the difference? The dissenting judge on the panel said the following, “Under the majority’s opinion, every website operator faces the potential that he will be hailed into far-away courts based upon allegations of intellectual property infringement, if he happens to know where the alleged owner of the property rights resides.”
In short, if you are accused of copyright infringement, it is no longer safe to assume that you would be sued in your own district, but rather that you could be forced to litigate in the plaintiff’s court, enduring the extra costs and expense that comes with it. read more
Tags: content theft, copyright, copyright infringement, jurisdiction, Legal, plagiarism
June 16, 2009
The identity of a blogging British police officer going by the pseudonym “Night Jack” has been discovered by The Times newspaper and is soon to be published, after attempts by his lawyers to get an injunction preventing the exposé failed.
In the High Court, Mr Justice Eady ruled that blogging was “essentially a public rather than a private activity” and as such it was in the public interest to reveal his identity.
Unlike The Daily Telegraph, whose revelations regarding MPs expenses were definitely in the public interest, all The Times is likely to achieve is the loss of an interesting and insightful blog. Well done. read more
Tags: anonymous, Blogging, law, Legal, police, UK
April 15, 2009
In a story so short it could fit into a handful of tweets, notorious British tabloid The Sun reports that Beyonce Knowles is planning legal action against those who are pretending to be her on Twitter.
Apparently, her sister Solange said that she was being pestered by someone pretending to be the singer.
Whether this is a legitimate story is another matter. Though Twitter has been known to shut down accounts that either impersonate or are otherwise dubious, it’s possibly a better idea to ensure that your official Twitter account is well publicised so that the fakers can then be easily identified.
(Hat tip @kevindixie)
Tags: beyonce, celebrity, fake, Legal, Twitter
March 29, 2009
In “The Outing of a Blogger: Social Transparency or Violation?” I started this short series on the outing of a popular Alaska personal blogger, Mudflats (aka AKMuckraker or AKM), unveiled by a state politician.
The question I want to tackle in this article is the issue of the legality of blogger anonymity and what protects bloggers and not. This is a huge topic, so I’m only going to scratch the surface.
In many countries, there are no laws protecting freedom of speech nor journalists or bloggers. There may be protections for journalists, but none for bloggers. In countries where you would expect there to be such laws…it’s amazing how few there are and how flexible those laws can be.
Does a blogger have the right to privacy and anonymity? What rights do others have to expose them and why? read more
Tags: anonymous, anonymous blogger, anonymous blogging, blog security, blogger, blogger anonymity, blogger outed, blogger revealed, Bloggers, defamation, freedom of speech, hidden identity, laws, Legal, libel, outing a blogger
February 17, 2009
While courts can slap gagging orders on established media to stop certain information being published, it’s very clear that they have little control over what members of the public post online on blogs and forums.
So it is with the case of Brendan Sokaluk, the man accused of deliberately starting one of the bush fires in Victoria, Australia.
The court may have stopped the newspapers from divulging Sokaluk’s photo and street address, some bloggers have been posting such information online. read more
Tags: Australia, bush fire, Legal, police
October 14, 2008
For someone who’s not an US citizen, the lawsuit scare is somewhat far into the back of my head. That might be a luxury you can’t afford, so you might want to consider some kind of insurance for potential lawsuits. Silicon Alley Insider points to Media Bloggers Association, which offer law services for bloggers, including liability insurance programs that are way more economic than the expensive ones geared at the old media guard.
While this might be a good idea, I must second SAI on another point as well: health insurance. You might want to look up that alley first, because after all, your health is more important than your money, and you’ll probably not piss people off like Michael Arrington does.
Tags: insurance, lawsuit, Legal, Media Bloggers Association
August 4, 2008
In part one, we discussed the DMCA safe harbor provision as it pertains to bloggers, we looked at the elements of the law, what exactly they said and even the elements that compose a proper DMCA notice.
But even though the law itself is generally well understood, that does not mean it is not abused. Some, either through accident or malice, file false DMCA notices and demand removal for content that is not infringing. Others, unwittingly sacrifice the protections the law provides by not responding appropriately.
Bearing in mind that I am not an attorney, it is worth taking a few moments to think about strategies for using and handling DMCA notices. Because, whether you receive one or have to send one, it is best to be prepared for what is expected of you. read more
Tags: copyright, DMCA, Legal, safe harbor
July 28, 2008
There are few laws that affect bloggers more directly than the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (PDF) safe harbor provisions. Not only do bloggers use it to secure removal of their works when copied without permission, but many also take advantage of its protections to offer new services to their readers.
But the safe harbor provisions are also one of the least understood laws actively being used. Many do not understand exactly what the DMCA safe harbor protections do and what they protect protect. As such, they do not understand what their rights and obligations are under the law.
So we’re going to take a moment and analyze what the law actually says and how it applies to bloggers, both as content creators and as hosts, and look at how we can best use the law as it is written today.
Tags: copyright, Legal