Saturday, October 29, 2005

The 'Legal Guide for Bloggers'

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has this to say about the Forbes article, Attack of the Blogs:
EFF created the Legal Guide for Bloggers, in order to help bloggers understand their rights and, if necessary, defend their freedom. Forbes’ recent cover story, Attack of the Blogs, illustrates the need for bloggers everywhere to be prepared to defend their rights. Attack of the Blogs’ fear mongering opener is that blogs “are the prized platform of an online lynch mob spouting liberty but spewing lies, libel and invective,” and it goes on in the same vein.

In a sidebar to the blistering article, entitled Fighting Back, Forbes includes the following dangerous suggestion:

ATTACK THE HOST. Find some copyrighted text that a blogger has lifted from your Web site and threaten to sue his Internet service provider under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act. That may prompt the ISP to shut him down. Or threaten to drag the host into a defamation suit against the blogger. The host isn't liable but may skip the hassle and cut off the blogger's access anyway. Also: Subpoena the host company, demanding the blogger's name or Internet address.

If only Forbes had read the Legal Guide for Bloggers, they would have known that following this advice would be a very bad idea for their readers' pocketbooks."

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