We touched on the issue of doing the right thing when you blog here before in my post “Sit still so I can kill you!“. Guest blogger Natasha Phillips also touched on defamation. For example, if you would not tell a neighbor at a block party about your husband’s boss’ affair with an intern then you should not blog about it either.
Use common sense. Yes, defamation laws apply to bloggers so think before you blog.
A great site to find information about the legal liability issues for bloggers is here from the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The EFF “uses the unique expertise of leading technologists, activists, and attorneys in our efforts to defend free speech online.”
“What legal liability issues can arise from my blog?
Generally, you face the same liability issues as anyone making a publication available to the public, and receive the same freedom of speech and press protections. The main legal liability issues include:
- Intellectual Property (Copyright/Trademark)
- Trade Secret
- Right of Publicity
- Publication of Private Facts
- Intrusion into Seclusion”
If you have blogged for a while I highly recommend you bookmark this guide and website. Also, check it to see that you are doing what is right.
- If you quote someone else set the quote between quotation makes and use italics to visually show you are quoting.
- Link back to the original website where you found the information.
- If you did not find that information online give the source e.g. tell the readers which book you used. Mention at least the full title, the authors full name, the year of publication, and the publisher.
- If you have that information, try one more time to find that book online by visiting the publisher’s website and search their archives by author name.
Basic rule: if you would hesitate to say it out loud, think twice before you blog it!