The Law of Blogging

Yesterday a new book on the Law of Blogging was released. It’s available for $9.95 directly from the author as a PDF download only.

The Contents sketch out a broad range of topics:

Table of Contents 5
Cross-Index by Blogging Activity 8

Introduction Meant To Be Read 9
Legal Definition of Blogging 11
The First Amendment and the Differences Between a Blogger and Media 12
Can You Be Sued? 13
     Sizing Up Cease and Desist Letters 14

Writing, Editing, and Accountability 17
     Setting a Policy Statement For Your Blog 18
Copyright 20
     What Is Plagiarism? 21
     Likelihood of Getting Caught for Copyright Infringement 21
     Fair Use 22
     Attribution (Giving Credit For Copyrighted Material) 22

     Permissions 23
     Linking and “Contributory Infringement” 24
     Retractions, Removal, and the “Safe Harbor” Law 24
     How Big Can a Judgment Be? 25
          Statutory Penalties 25
     Safety in Numbers 25
Defamation 26
     Elements of Defamation of Character 26

          Identifiable Victim 26
          Falsehood 27
          Malice 27
          Emotional Distress 28
          The Right to Privacy 28
     Good Defenses 29
          Truth 29
          Privilege (“absolute” or “qualified”) 29
          Public Figure 30

          Satire and Parody 30
          The Comments Were Invited by the Plaintiff 30
          Opinion 31
          Libel-proof 31
          The Victim Is Deceased 31
     Uncertain Defenses to Libel Claims 32
          Safe Conduit 32
          Words Spoken In the Heat of Anger 32
     Worthless Defenses 33

     Retractions and Removal of Defamatory Material 33
          Retractions 33
          Removal 34
     The DMCA’s “Safe Harbor” Section and the CDA 34
     Actions and Notions That Lead to Lawsuits 35
          Ignoring the Small Stuff 35
          “The Internet isn’t real life.” 36
     Special Situations 36
          Food Slander, a.k.a Food Disparagement 36

          Lawsuits and Criminal Charges 37
          Courtroom Slander (by witnesses and lawyers) 38
Threats From Businesses 40
     Trademark and Servicemark 40
          Likelihood of confusion 40
          Dilution 40
          Cyber-squatting 41
          Interference With the “Natural Growth” of a Trademark 41

          Quibbles Over Capitalization and Spelling 41
          Searching Trademarks 42
          Examples of Trademark Protection 42
     Unfair Business Practices 43
     Stock/Financial Fraud – Litigation 44
Threats From Government (and Religious Groups) 45
     The U.S. Government 45

          False Advertising and Consumer Fraud 45
          Stock/Financial Fraud – Criminal 46
          Treason and Sedition 47
          Conspiracy 48
          Wiretapping (and “accessory to wiretapping”) 48
     Foreign Governments 49
          Dissing Dictators and Governments 50
          Blasphemy, Racism, and Culturism 50

Threats From Cults and Non-Profits 51
Threats From Individuals 52
     The Right to Privacy 52
     The Right to Publicity (or You Ain’t Nuthin’ But a Hound Dog) 55
     Product Liability 55
Tips From Mainstream Media 58

Appendix 59

Legal Basics 59
     How Laws Are “Made” 59
     Analyzing Precedents 60
     Statutes of Limitations 60
Where It’s All Going 61
     Bloggers As Media 62

     Editing and Accountability 62
     Food Slander 63
     Copyright 63
     Right to Privacy 64
     Cybersquatting 65
     Harassment and “Cyberstalking” 65
     Video/Audio Recording Restrictions 65
     Governments 66
Hot Button Words Leading to Defamation Lawsuits 66

Glossary 67
Resources 69
     General 69
     Defamation 70
     Copyright 71
     Trademark 71

And a new post on IBLS on the law of blogging today. The case law is all American, but it may well be of interest., the Philadelphia courts and Phillips Nizer


  1. Do you think it is a concern that it was not written by a lawyer?

  2. Not unless it’s wrong and then it doesn’t matter who wrote it. Or he’s right and it matters even less that he’s not.

    I suppose one might begin with the concern that maybe there are subtleties he might have missed because he lacks the background. But that’s a book/covers adage problem and the concern will be proven or disproven by the content.

    I’ll paraphrase what I’ve often said. There’s very little about law that’s either brain surgery or rocket science. If he’s devoted the time required to learn the subject, and the context which is other areas that could affect the subject, he’s probably more competent to do what he’s done than many a lawyer taking cases to court.

    There are more than a few areas of legal theory, for example, in which there is excellent writing by people who never went to law school but have other disciplines which make them more than competent to teach lawyers about law.