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Being a Blogger Holds Legal Risks

If you are an American, you must be familiar with the constant daily argument that free speech is a right. The problem is that this “law” is challenged on a daily basis. It is challenged in many ways, including top secret government attacks on the character of the person practicing free speech.

The reason that sparked this post is the recent arrest warrant that went out for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. I saw that major press release, and then maybe an hour later I saw that the arrest warrant was canceled just as fast as it was placed.

My immediate reaction to the warrant was that it was a government attempt at shutting up Mr Assange. I would not put this kind of thing past my own government. It is very possible for them to pay someone off to come up with a story that Julian Assange raped and molested someone. It must have been canceled right away because someone actually investigated it and found someone to be lying. It would have been more responsible of them to investigate before they made the warrant public though. Or better yet… investigated before they created the warrant.

As a blogger, you will be faced with many challenges to your character. You may be legally attacked because of a bad review about someone or some company. You may have your facts challenged by another blogger. You may be downright attacked by another blogger for no reason other than the fact that they are a controversial blogger and that’s how they generate traffic and readers.

While I agree that there are some blogs that need to be taken down for blatant copyright violations, I do not agree with the tactics used by authorities which end up hurting innocent bloggers. Unfortunately, even with the law on your side, you can be stifled without explanation. But if you take precautions and make backups, then the above linked reference will have no major effect on you or your blog.

All of these legal issues can be fixed on our favor if only the laws regarding “freedom of press” were to be recognized by the courts for bloggers. We are after-all, the new media. We should be respected as press as we do make news public. We use our opinions a good portion of the time, but how many traditional media authors don’t insert some opinion in their articles? The only difference is that we are independent of a backing like that of a newspaper. It is unfair though, because traditional newspapers have blogs now. Those newspaper bloggers are covered by freedom of press, while we independent bloggers publish without such protections. How on earth is that fair?

On top of the obvious legal risks, you also hold the chance of being censored by your local government. Take note about the recent issue with Dubai trying to block Blackberry from operating in their territory because Blackberry transferred data securely and the government wanted to be able to spy on people. In the end, somehow Blackberry worked it out with them. But to me, that sounds like they caved and turned their back on consumers. I have a couple of Blackberry’s myself, and if I were ever to travel to Dubai or any other repressive regime, I would not use my phone. Although, I have decided to just never visit Dubai because of their not-so-recent legal attack against an American couple who were kissing in public. God forbid you love your wife right?

I also read about freedoms disappearing in Australia because of government control issues. I would not claim that any citizen of a nation is completely in the loop, but I would like to hear my friend Alex’s take on the issue in Australia.

Shake it loose baby!

Tell me what you think about your blogging risks and how you handle them with a comment below.

About the author

Brandon Connell

I am an author, blogger, investor, musician, and internet marketer among other things. I believe that one person can do many things in life.

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  1. Hi Brandon,
    Some thought provoking material on an excellent blog.
    We believe the legal situation in Australia concerning journos and the protection they are affordeded when expressing their opinion in newspapers does not extend to us bloggers.
    Thank you for the information in this and your other posts.
    best regards
    Allan and Dawn

    Posted on 21-Aug-10 at 11:58 pm | Permalink
  2. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    Hello Allan and Dawn. Thank you for stopping by. It is unfortunate that bloggers are disregarded as vigilantes rather than respected. Sure there are some bloggers that nobody can stand. But for the most part, we actually write about something that people want to read.

    Posted on 22-Aug-10 at 12:03 am | Permalink
  3. Barry Wells
    Twitter: barry_wells

    Hi Brandon, thanks for visiting my blog and leaving a comment.

    I had the news on through the night and saw the subject that you talk of here. I have to agree with you Brandon, surely it would make sense to investigate any accusation before issuing a warrent. Especially for such a high profile case as this.

    I’ll be back soon, Barry

    Posted on 22-Aug-10 at 8:09 am | Permalink
  4. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    I guess the laws there are a bit loose compared to those that I am used to. If that happened here in America, it would have sparked some serious attention from media, political parties, and pretty much everyone.

    Posted on 22-Aug-10 at 4:43 pm | Permalink
  5. I have heard about lots of legal issues with the Internet. Most of them concern the use of images. There are lots of people who simply go out and copy an image from a website. Usually that’s because they don’t know that it’s illegal to do that. But how are you supposed to know this? Do you know a law blog?
    Nice article.

    Posted on 24-Aug-10 at 7:28 am | Permalink
  6. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    Yep. Luckily there are free sources of images that you can use without trouble like for example.

    Posted on 24-Aug-10 at 8:02 am | Permalink
  7. Very interesting read. It almost makes me rethink wanting to start a few more blogs and automate some of them.

    Posted on 24-Aug-10 at 3:06 pm | Permalink
  8. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    As it should. There are some rss feed sources who allow the republishing. But still, what’s the point? The duplicate content will not allow you to make it too far.

    Posted on 25-Aug-10 at 11:40 am | Permalink
  9. Jerry Kennedy
    Twitter: jerrykennedy

    Great information, Brandon…thanks for sharing! It’s such a shame to see bloggers having that kind of abuse dumped on them. You’re absolutely right: we are the new media, and we deserve to be treated as such. At the same time, we also need to take some responsibility for our actions and make sure we’re blogging with integrity.

    Nice job!

    Posted on 25-Aug-10 at 1:59 pm | Permalink
  10. Brandon Connell
    Twitter: Brandon_Connell

    Yes Jerry. And those who blog for just money end up with a splog and automated rss feed puller content which can end up getting them sued for copyright infringement. But those kinds of sites don’t qualify as a blog and should not have that protection.

    Posted on 25-Aug-10 at 11:59 pm | Permalink

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