If you are thinking about starting a blog or if you already have one, it is important to understand that in the eyes of the law, bloggers are considered to be active journalists. This means that you face nearly all of the same legal issues that magazine and newspaper publishers face. You may believe that you do not have to worry about these issues because your audience is small, but this is entirely false.
Copyright laws are often violated by bloggers simply because they are unaware of them or do not understand how they work. Anyone who creates a work, whether it is a piece of writing, an image, a video or an audio clip, owns a copyright on that work. This means that the work in question cannot be used without the consent of the creator or copyright owner. You can check for duplicate content using CopyScape.com.
Many bloggers violate copyright laws by copying images from other websites and using them on their blogs. In addition, some people reprint articles and other text without attributing it to the original author, which is plagiarism, a specific form of copyright infringement. It is important to avoid Google penalties when sharing authentic content from authority websites.
The upside of copyright law is that it also protects the original work you publish on your blog so that it cannot be used without your express permission.
Libel in Blogs
Because blogs are considered journalistic outlets, you cannot publish untrue information about someone or something that could negatively impact that person or another legal entity, such as a business or corporation. When this occurs, it is known as defamation, and the person who was affected may file a lawsuit in civil court seeking monetary damages.
However, it is important to note that you may not be responsible for the comments that others make on your blog if they are in no way affiliated with it. The owner of the gossip website TheDirty.com was ordered to pay $338,000 in damages to former Bengals cheerleader Sarah Jones for publishing untrue statements about her. However, just this month, the decision was reversed in a federal appeals court because the statements were made by unaffiliated commenters.
Another important legal issue for bloggers is privacy law. You must be aware that it is illegal to use or sell the private information of your viewers or subscribers without their permission, including their names and email addresses. Doing so is a violation of federal law, and it may be considered a criminal act. Use the Double Opt-in Process to reach those who really want to hear from you.
Blogging is a great way to increase the amount of relevant content on your website that can attract more visitors to your website. Just be aware of the legal issues, and write away!