TOW: Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Publishers

As bloggers and other citizen media creators we are given what is called the freedom of expression.  This is defined as the freedom to speak without censorship or limitation, yet the freedom of expression is not absolute. Three very  important areas of media law that specifically relate to gathering information and publishing online are defamation, privacy and copyright. Defamation is a false accusation of an offense or a malicious misrepresentation of someone’s words or actions. This something that you certainly need to stay away from. You should always be certain of facts before publishing them online for the world to see. Defamation could destroy an innocent person’s life so you must always be very careful when dealing with sensitive information. Copyright infringement  is the unauthorized or prohibited use of works under copyright, infringing the copyright owner’s exclusive rights, such as the right to reproduce or perform the copyrighted work, or to make derivative works. As a blogger or publisher you must respect the work of other people. If you don’t, there could be serious consequences.  Invasion of privacy the wrongful intrusion by individuals or the government into private affairs with which the public has no concern. Unfortunately, this principle seems to have been forgotten, especially in the lives of celebrities or other well-known figures.

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