A fresh start, a new beginning (2015) could be even better if you keep track of your online activities. The blogging and social media community is increasingly subject to various mistakes that may lead to serious legal actions. Since blogging is now a trend, bloggers are getting sued for everything, from defamation to invasion to infringement. Data reveals that there are around 106 civil lawsuits against bloggers. Many others have been settled before entering the law houses but not before causing headache to the bloggers.
Bloggers are knowledgeable about the subject but are clueless about what should not be made public. The things they can’t say online. Here is the list of mistakes that you (as a blogger) should avoid and be free from hassle and stress that a lawsuit causes.
5 issues that lead to maximum number of lawsuits
Here are five issues that generally result into lawsuits against most bloggers.
Defamation is an intentional false communication (oral or written) which decreases the respect or harms reputation or inculcates disagreeable feelings against an individual. Defamation is in reader’s mind. You might think the content to be inoffensive and funny. But, if it results into any negative consequence against an individual it can be defamatory and may lead to the lawsuit against you. So keep track of the content you post/publish online. You are liable for what you say.
2. Copyright Infringement
Copyright infringement is using the content protected by copyright without the holder’s permission. If you infringe a copyright you are screwed. It is very simple, either you PAY for it or you CANNOT use it. So if you don’t have permission to use someone’s creative content Don’t use it. Avoid copyright infringement to avoid lawsuit which can cause you heavy damages. As heavy as 3 times the original price.
3. Tortious Interference
Bloggers are most obvious targets of lawsuits related to tortious interference. Tortious interference means provoking someone to break contracts already in place.
Bloggers many a time post reviews and their experiences about certain products or services. Opinions posted on blogs or social media are protected speeches. However, encouraging others for not buying certain product or avail a service is considered as an interference in cyber world. So while blogging stick to opinions and do not give any statements that might be considered as a fact.
4. Right of publicity/personality right
It is the right of an individual to control the public/commercial use of his name, likeness or image. It protects an individual from unauthorized use of his/her name over social media platforms. If you are a person who posts every photo over social site, you are at high risk of facing a law suit under right of publicity.
So next time while you are using any photo, excerpts from other person’s blog or other social content take prior permission thereby avoid the lawsuit.
5. Product Disparagement
Any false statement about a product which affects its goodwill in the market is termed as product disparagement. Comments on blogs, product reviews come in the purview of product disparagement. In case you write product reviews, do not include anything which you are not sure about.
Finally as a blogger be cautious and careful about what you write in your blog post.
Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer; content of this blog post should not be considered as legal advice. Consult a competent attorney before making any decisions about handling a potential lawsuit or suing someone.