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Blogging & the law

With internet blogging becoming increasingly popular, particularly among escorts, it may be useful to consider the legal position surrounding this growing phenomenon.

Contrary to what some people seem to think, bloggers do not have the legal right to say whatever they like. Under UK law, bloggers do not have the right to remain anonymous and are treated the same as professional journalists or publishers. As a result, bloggers must take care with anything they write about a person or company in an accusatory way. For most purposes, to defame someone means: To lower the estimation of a person in the eyes of right thinking members of society generally. Even if the words damage a person in the eyes of a section of society or the community, they are not defamatory unless they amount to a disparagement of the reputation in the eyes of right-thinking people generally.

Alongside defamation, the other areas of liability for bloggers are breach of Copyright, trade mark infringement, data protection breaches and disclosure of confidential details, and use of expressions which are criminalised, (e.g. inciting racist violence).

The other main areas of potential liability if you upload content to your own website might be:

  1. Contempt of Court - e.g. talking too much about an ongoing trial
  2. Terrorism Act 2006 - inciting, encouraging or supporting terrorism
  3. Racial and Religious Hatred Act 2006 - inciting racial and/or religious hatred

If a reader takes issue with content you have uploaded to your website, the first you are likely to hear of it is via a letter or e-mail requesting that the content be amended or deleted. Theoretically, bloggers must comply with laws all over the world, but the land where your content is consumed is the most important. Putting a ‘terms of use’ notice spelling out if you read this blog you agree to be bound by the law of… (your home country) can help.

For bloggers, who often populate their web-pages with links, a likely legal challenge stems from the common process of ‘making available.’ Under Copyright law, bloggers can face action for simply linking to a site that infringes someone else’s Copyright.

Using a company logo in a blog post can cause problems, and may lead to accusations of dilution of their brand, or unlawful usage of a trademark.

Under UK law, re-publishing a libel is the same as publishing it. However if you are publishing content written by another author, give due acknowledgement, and make sure your own content is identified and is made clearly separate from that of other persons. does your blog measure up?