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Top 10 tips for media law online

by on 28 Oct, 2008

Here’s 10 top tips for online media law.

1 Don’t rely on the news statements of other writers. GO TO THE ORIGINAL source/press release etc when you can. It’s often only a click away. And you may get a better story. You certainly could get a different story.

2 Don’t forget that HYPERLINKS AND PIX CAN CHANGE THE MEANING of a story. A general rant about a sector with a link to a story with a mention of a specific company can be dangerous. And a pic can give a particular meaning.

3 Don’t forget that because you CAN you may NOT HAVE PERMISSION to copy. It’s easy to copy. And the material is still on the original web site. But it can be a copyright infringement.

4 Don’t forget indifference to the copying of your material can lead others to steal your IP. You need to DEFEND your content. Otherwise you don’t have anything original.

5 Don’t forget that the visitor to your site needs to see things in CONTEXT. If it is meant to be funny, make sure they would see it like that. If serious, then be serious. The context can change the meaning.

6 Don’t forget to MODERATE or not to moderate forums etc. There should be no in between. If you do a bit of moderation then you may be liable as the publisher of it all. And don’t forget to say clearly whether moderated or not.

7 Don’t forget that what seems OK on the Internet CAN LOOK BAD IN COURT. The High Court is accepting that some forums are like chatting in a bar. With give and take. But don’t rely on it.

8 Don’t forget the difference between AN ACCUSATION AND REASONABLE GROUNDS FOR SUSPICION. If you say he did it, you may have to prove it. If there’s reasonable grounds for suspicion, say so. And say what they are.

9 Don’t forget how much looser is US LIBEL. Things on US sites may not trigger a libel there which could trigger a libel here.

10 And don’t forget REYNOLDS – THE REASONABLE JOURNALISM DEFENCE. Use good sources. Get a comment from the subject and include it. Don’t adopt the story too much.

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