Bloggers Have Rights

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Bloggers' Rights at EFFBloggers have rights, and it’s important for them to know about them. It’s becoming more common for companies to issue cease and desist letters to bloggers who print negative reviews of their products or services. But bloggers don’t have to be bullied! There is a right of free speech in America, and that gives bloggers the right to state their opinions on anything.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is an organization that helps bloggers know their legal rights so they’re not abused by companies that just don’t want others to know that you think their programs, products, or services suck.

Below is some helpful information put out by EFF, and I recommend that you visit their site for more information on your rights. Don’t let a company bully you into keeping your opinions quiet!

Bloggers can be journalists (and journalists can be bloggers) – We’re battling for legal and institutional recognition that if you engage in journalism, you’re a journalist, with all of the attendant rights, privileges, and protections. (See Apple v. Does.)

Bloggers are entitled to free speech – We’re working to shield you from frivolous or abusive threats and lawsuits. Internet bullies shouldn’t use copyright, libel, or other claims to chill your legitimate speech. (See OPG v. Diebold.)

Bloggers have the right to political speech – We’re working with a number of other public-interest organizations to ensure that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) doesn’t gag bloggers’ election-related speech. We argue that the FEC should adopt a presumption against the regulation of election-related speech by individuals on the Internet, and interpret the existing media exemption to apply to online media outlets that provide news reporting and commentary regarding an election — including blogs. (See our joint comments to the FEC; [PDF, 332K].)

Bloggers have the right to stay anonymous – We’re continuing our battle to protect and preserve your constitutional right to anonymous speech online, including providing a guide to help you with strategies for keeping your identity private when you blog. (See How to Blog Safely (About Work or Anything Else).)

Bloggers have freedom from liability for hosting speech the same way other web hosts do – We’re working to strengthen Section 230 liability protections under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) while spreading the word that bloggers are entitled to them. (See Barrett v. Rosenthal.)

2 thoughts on “Bloggers Have Rights

  1. Anonymous Financial Blogger

    Acting in a legal manner is only part of the issue. If a blogger criticizes a rich person or company, even if done so in a completely legal manner, the criticized company or individual can sue, necessitating a costly legal defense. Due to threats of such actions I now have a $400/hr defamation lawyer on retainer. While this may seem extreme, I know of others in my position (who have criticized shady and fraudulent companies) who have had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to defend themselves. It is good to be prepared, and now I don’t let my most negative articles out unless my lawyer okays them. There are certain other things I will never say because the risk of getting sued is too great.

  2. Hello Tracy,

    This is interesting but somehow outdated info (the EFF article gows back to 2005, and the invisiblog project seems to be just dead).

    Here are some links that might be useful (though some of them are old as well):

    From Ethan Zuckerman, a kind of Internet Guru on anonymous blogging:
    http://www.ethanzuckerman.com/blog/2006/10/01/anonymous-blogging-with-wordpress-and-tor/
    http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/internet/page6042.cfm

    TOR – (which seems one of the necessary tools to get the job done):
    http://www.torproject.org/
    ————-

    Here in Portugal, not a month ago, and in an unprecedent decision, a court order against a Google anonynous blogger was carried out by the company , and the blog was taken offline. The court also ordered Google to reveal the blogger’s identity but, till now, no news about that. The blog was openly criticizig the politicians running a town’s City Hall. After the blog was closed, it’s author promptly opened another one with a similar name and continued to post his opinions (lol). Needless to say: a relatevely unknown situation became a news matter, a national issue, and now all our country knows a lot more that the Mayour would like us to…

    Best Regards,

    Pedro

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