Some might remember that last year, the US Federal Elections Commission began debating a set of regulations into how to apply election law and campaign finance reform law to blogs.
The Internet’s freewheeling days as a place exempt from the heavy hand of federal election laws are about to end.
Late Friday, the Federal Election Commission released a 96-page volume of Internet regulations that have been anticipated for more than a year and represent the government’s most extensive foray yet into describing how bloggers and Web sites must abide by election law restrictions.
The rules (click here for PDF) say that paid Web advertising, including banner ads and sponsored links on search engines, will be regulated like political advertising in other types of media. They also say bloggers can enjoy the freedoms of traditional news organizations when endorsing a candidate or engaging in political speech.
I will go on record stating that I’m opposed to these laws/regulations in any way, shape, or form. Although Blog Herald isn’t generally a place that we plan on posting about politics, we’ve written in the past about laws and candidates.
While this regulation purports to allow us the freedoms of news outlets, for which we are thankful, it’s clear that advertising restrictions will be in place and regulated like other political speech.
It will be interesting to see how these regulations read in their final form once approved by the FEC – and how much, if any, paperwork we’re going to be required to complete in order to be in compliance.
Matt Craven is the former editor & publisher of The Blog Herald. Currently, Matt is the co-founder of Bryghtpath LLC, a consulting practice located in Woodbury, Minnesota. Matt's presently looking for new blogging gigs. Ping him at matt (at) bryghtpath dot com. You can follow him on Twitter.