07 April 2009

+ For What I'm Worth

What's the deal with liability for things I say here on this blog?

If I dropped the suggestion that Julian Cole and Jye Smith do more than just blog together, am I financially liable if it is deemed slanderous? Is Blogger?

If you do sue me all you'll take is my beer money for the next fortnight and maybe a weekly train ticket but maybe something I should be thinking about.

Can my law peeps help?

7 comments:

  1. Defamatory is defamatory regardless of medium I believe. In a legal sense.

    There's also the ethical point of view etc, which I'm currently discussing, might be of interest. (http://jyesmith.com/split-personalities-work-and-personal-life-online-anonymity/2009/03/31/)

    As usual, comments have shown up the post.

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  2. But what about from a company perspective?
    When you write your blog you voice your own personal opinions right?
    But does your employer have a right to ask you to change your opinions on your blog, tone down the style of writing or ask you delete a post altogether?

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  3. Truth is your defense with libel; certainly not applicable to this case... right? ;)

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  4. mmmm, when I had drinks with Jye and Cole I had a sneeking suspicion ... it was Cole's shoes that gave it away I recon :)

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  5. " But does your employer have a right to ask you to change your opinions on your blog, tone down the style of writing or ask you delete a post altogether?"

    Only if the blog is officially representitive of the company ... if not, no.

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  6. in regards to defamation and liable the same rules apply as with other media (say print media) and although Blogger is the technical publisher - precedents have been set the identify the individual as publisher and responsible for published content.

    Obviously defamation/liable cases brought against you are judged in regards to truth, fair criticism, damage to credibility/financial, and believability (i.e. was it intended as a joke). So say whatever you like just pretend it was a joke!

    As for " But does your employer have a right to ask you to change your opinions on your blog, tone down the style of writing or ask you delete a post altogether?" - there are 4 main considerations here.
    1. Is the blog a representation of the company? if so, then they have some control.
    2. Are you revealing confidential info?
    3. Even if the blog has nothing to do with your company officially - there is so legal scope where employers can argue your personal reputation is in the domain of your contractual employment - and if you damage that you damage your employer (this is used for high paying execs and does happen - which is how they can fire people when they have done something that is deemed disgraceful in public).
    4. Your contract may have explicit stipulations regarding this stuff - which, when/if you sigh a contract you should get a clause in there saying they have no domain over you private online activities.

    what can I say - I've dated a few lawyers in my time.

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  7. For what it's worth, they teach us journos that defamation has been committed if:
    * it exposes the person to hatred, ridicule or contempt;
    * it causes them to be shunned or avoided;
    * it lowers them in the estimation of right-thinking members of society;
    * or it disparages them in their business, trade, office or profession.

    However, the truth is an absolute defence - and you have a lot of leeway when it comes to comment.

    So when it comes to negative facts, don't say it if you can't prove it. In court.

    But so long as you're commenting on real events, and doing so sincerely, then you 'll be fine. So you can say that you think that a particular idea was rubbish, but you can't say that the person who did it was a crook.

    Cheers,

    Tim - Mumbrella

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The views expressed herein are my own and do not necessarily reflect those of my employer. Also ponies are evil.
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