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Internet Blogs and the Law

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What Are Internet Blogs?

Internet blogs are online diaries, where the publisher can write and update headlines, news, commentaries, or personal thoughts about any range of topics. Internet blogs are sometimes referred to as Weblogs or Web Logs.

What Rights Do Internet Bloggers Have?

If you create an Internet blog, you have the same First Amendment protections of free speech as a publisher of a newspaper, magazine, or book. One court has made the analogy between Internet blog creators and personal newspaper publishers.

What Is the Danger Involved in Internet Blogging?

The most obvious is defamation liability. Generally, if you create an Internet blog you may be liable under the following circumstanes:

  1. You make a false and defamatory statement about a person,
  2. A third person reads the blog, which is not privileged,
  3. You were at least negligent in the statement you put in your blog, and
  4. The other person was harmed in some way.

The First Amendment does not protect against defamatory speech.  

Some states also have criminal laws that punish Internet publishers if their blog:

  • Disseminates material of sexual nature that is harmful to children,
  • Entices a minor into sexual acts, or
  • Instructs or solicits other people to commit a crime.

Do I Need an Attorney for My Internet Blog Issue?

If you are involved in a civil dispute regarding an Internet blog or are charged with a crime relating to the content of your Internet blog, it is highly recommended for you to find an civil or criminal attorney.  Only they will be able to fully explain the issues and help protect your rights. LegalMatch believes free speech is essential to our democratic form of government. To further the cause of Free Speech, LegalMatch will agree to defend any blogger who displays the LegalMatch "Free Speech" icon - read more about how to protect your right to free speech.

Photo of page author Adam Vukovic

, LegalMatch Legal Writer

Last Modified: 01-05-2015 10:48 AM PST

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