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Bloggers beware

by on 10 Dec, 2011

Blogging is a conversation. But because it is published, it is a conversation with rules. Bloggers ignore them at their peril and the risk of large legal bills!

In the UK in particular, the rules about reputation and defamation are especially stringent.  And people who feel their reputations have been damaged by a blog post or on twitter or other social media are increasingly turning to the law for redress.

The number of cases in which a person claimed that their reputation had been damaged by a blog or social media rose to 16 from 7 in the UK in the year that ended May 31, 2011, according to Sweet & Maxwell, the legal information specialists.

Now bloggers are running afoul of the law in the US too. The US has traditionally been much more forgiving when it comes to libel and defamation as applied to journalists. But that’s the catch. A judge in Portland Oregon has ruled that a blogger is not entitled to the same protection as a  journalist.  It’s a complicated story, but unless she wins her appeal, the blogger involved is looking at paying $2.5 million for defaming the subject of her blog.

The moral of the story: if you’re going to blog, make sure you understand the rules of the game. Find out about libel and other defamations and don’t forget about copyright.

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