Sunday, July 20, 2008

Bloggers Being Sued For Libel

Many of my visitors are fellow bloggers. If you are a blogger this article is for you.

This is no laughing matter. In America anyone can sue anyone for anything. When you get that court summons you must respond and deal with it or even the most meritless case will result in a judgment against you if you fail to defend yourself in court.

You have a right to publish an opinion and as long as the things you publish are true you’re generally okay. Saying things about public figures are often protected but saying the same about your co-worker or next-door neighbor is not. You can say just about whatever you want about the dead and never be sued.

The best rule is to restrict you publishing to only what’s true and provable. Bloggers need credibility and libel is the fasted way to lose it and perhaps your retirement.

An example of libel may be something a reader said that you failed to even see. Often I get cut and paste material on the comments that violate copyright laws. I have to toss those comments.

Sometimes I get comments that seem to be too hateful or even threatening to someone I wrote about. I have to toss those too. In three years of blogging I only got one comment so bad I reported it to law enforcement.

Most lawyers will never take a case against a blogger because there are no significant assets or insurance that would justify the legal expense of filing a lawsuit.

The people with assts like the few wildly successful bloggers (that cuts me out) make them targets for litigation. Knowledge about libel law is a big help and insurance provides protection.

Read more here.


Anonymous said...

Two things I always check before posting to my blog.

1 Is it truthful?

2.Am I being objective and impartial.

Anonymous said...

Dissolution of the US Constitution is unprecedented under the current regime.

Ron Paul '08

Anonymous said...

Basic journalism training and some background on media law can go a long way in reducing the risks that come from publishing online. My non-profit organization, the Citizen Media Law Project, provides free educational materials on defamation, copyright, and other legal risks. You can access our Citizen Media Legal Guide here.