EFF Updates Legal Guide for Bloggers

Feb 17, 2009

If you've sat through one of my sessions on Creative Commons and attribution in social media, you'll be interested in this little tidbit of news.

Those good folks over at the Electronic Frontier Foundation have updated their Legal Guide for Bloggers. Similar to useful Creative Commons Legal Guide for Podcasters,
the guide basically tries to clarify all sorts of things that might get
a well-meaning blogger in trouble. The guide clears up things such as
online defamation, intellectual property (copyrights!), trade secrets,
right of publicity, publication of private facts, and intrusion into
seclusion. It also talks about how to deal with online bullies and the
wonderful practice of disemvowelling.


Like all journalists and publishers, bloggers
sometimes publish information that other people don’t want published.
You might, for example, publish something that someone considers
defamatory, republish an AP news story that’s under copyright, or write
a lengthy piece detailing the alleged crimes of a candidate for public

The difference between you and the reporter at your local
newspaper is that in many cases, you may not have the benefit of
training or resources to help you determine whether what you’re doing
is legal. And on top of that, sometimes knowing the law doesn’t help –
in many cases it was written for traditional journalists, and the
courts haven’t yet decided how it applies to bloggers.

But here’s the important part: None of this should stop you from
blogging. Freedom of speech is the foundation of a functioning
democracy, and Internet bullies shouldn’t use the law to stifle
legitimate free expression. That’s why EFF created this guide,
compiling a number of FAQs designed to help you understand your rights
and, if necessary, defend your freedom.

To be clear, this guide isn’t a substitute for, nor does it
constitute, legal advice. Only an attorney who knows the details of
your particular situation can provide the kind of advice you need if
you’re being threatened with a lawsuit. The goal here is to give you a
basic roadmap to the legal issues you may confront as a blogger, to let
you know you have rights, and to encourage you to blog freely with the
knowledge that your legitimate speech is protected.

EFF Legal Guide for Bloggers

Posted by | Categories: Blogging |

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