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Legal Risks to Be Watchful for When Blogging

What better way for one voice their opinion to the whole world than through social media and blogging? Thanks to advancement in technology, today one can voice their views and opinions in an easily accessible way at the convenience of their home or office. But just because there is freedom of speech and expression does not mean you should abuse the rights of free writing; there are some legal aspects that need to be considered before you post anything on the World Wide Web. Here are the top 3 risks that you should be very careful of when you want to start blogging.

1. Defamation

Defamation can be described as false statement or assumptions that can cause harm and embarrassment to another person or party. Unless you want to be involved in a vicious and unending legal battle, it is always advisable that you verify all the sources of information you use to ensure you give credible information; information that you can back up with tangible proof and evidence should it be required in a court of law. Telling the truth is one thing, but proofing it in a court of law is a different (and sometimes very difficult) thing altogether. Before you click ‘post’ in your blog, ensure you keep this in mind.

2. Intellectual property

Respect to intellectual property available online is equally very important. Intellectual property in this case can be in form of videos, images, or text which are protected by copyrights. Never publish anything that you don’t have full legal rights on. Should you use anything that does not belong to you, always ensure you provide appropriate links and the right acknowledgement of the author?

3. Confidentiality

Never divulge private and confidential information on your weblog, whether you have tangible proof or not, and whether you post anonymously or not. For instance, never post information about your employer on social media and blog. You could unknowingly or knowingly be giving out information that your employer sees as very sensitive business secrets. Giving out such insider information can interfere with the competitive edge of your employer. It goes without saying that a lawsuit could ensue. Actually, statistics indicate that most internet-related lawsuits are filed by employers and large business corporations.

Here are some quick tips and some accepted journalistic practices that will help you avoid problems on your blog.

  • Always get consent of all businesses or individuals you plan to cover in your blog. Try to give them an opportunity to respond to what you have to say before you post for the whole world to see.
  • Should you publish something and it turns out erroneous, and the concerned party asks you to publish corrections, always ensure you publish the clarifications and link them to the initial erroneous post.
  • In case you make a mistake, you should admit and offer your apologies at the earliest available opportunity. This way, you will have some bargaining power should a legal action be taken against you. You will also attract more loyal readers as you will be seen as an individual of integrity.
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