Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Blogging and the Law

Law (Stock.xchng)

The following items are taken from New Sunday Times. It is about a question-and-answer session at the elawyer Law Conference 2009 themed “Blogging and Law” recently:

  • You create a fake Facebook profile about your friend or foe, can you get away with it? No. Lawyer Nizam Bashi Abdul Kariem Bashir said the person responsible would be liable for defamation. “The strongest defense for defamation is justification. If you express an opinion and the facts are reasonably accurate and it is published in the interest of the public, then it is acceptable,” said Nizam

  • Someone takes an unflattering photograph of you and posts it on his blog; can you do anything about it? Apparently not. For unflattering photograph, intellectual property lawyer, Foong Cheng Leong said:” So long as it is that person who has taken the photo of you, he has the copyright to it.

  • What about taking a video from YouTube and posting on your blog? “You would have infringed copyright laws as you have reproduced material without consent,” he said.

  • What if someone posts an unfavorable comment about a minister on your blog but you reply to the post saying the comment is inappropriate. Are you liable? “Yes. Your response will help only in the mitigation of your sentencing or damages against you.”

  • On copyright, Foong said if you drew a caricature and commissioned someone else to do illustrations for your blog, you would own the copyright to the caricature and illustrations. “Even if you paid the person just RM1 or RM2 to do it.”

  • If an image is taken of a website and posted on a blog, said Foong, the defense of fair dealing would be available if the website was credited to the proper owner.

  • What if you link your blog to website that contains defamation information or images? The courts, said Nizsm, had held that it was fine if the link just contains the name of the site as opposed to its uniform resource locator.

  • Are you still liable for defamation if you use someone’s name in you blog, and in brackets, explain that it is just an example? “Even if the comments were humorous, parties have still taken matters like this to court. It would depend on the context of the information. Brackets might not necessarily work on all occasions.”

  • Nizam said it was defamation if a blogger's writing injures the reputation of another person.

  • If there is a defamatory comment on a blog but the blogger subsequently removes it, is he still liable? ”Yes. It will only help in the mitigation of sentencing. There is freedom on the Net, but there must also be responsibility.”

Blogging is fun but we have to blog with care in order not to run foul of the law.

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