Blogging - Are You Exposing Yourself To Legal Liabilities?

Running a blog – Are You Exposing Your self To Authorized Liabilities?

In November 2006, Running a blog Asia: A Home windows Reside Report launched by Microsoft’s MSN and Home windows Reside On-line Providers Enterprise revealed that 46% or almost half of the web inhabitants have a weblog [Blogging Phenomenon Sweeps Asia available at].Running a blog Asia: A Home windows Reside Report was carried out on-line on the MSN portal throughout 7 international locations in Asia particularly Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Curiously, the report discovered that 56% of Malaysians blogged to specific their views, whereas 49% blogged to maintain family and friends up to date.This text focuses on Malaysian legislation nonetheless because the Web transcends boundaries and jurisdictions subsequently the legal guidelines of many international locations could apply. In Malaysia, bloggers face authorized dangers that carry civil or legal liabilities similar to;

(a) copyright;

(b) trademark;

(c) defamation; and

(d) sedition.Aside from the above, a blogger should think about different authorized dangers similar to fraud, breach of confidentiality and misrepresentation which won’t be addressed on this article.Copyright protects the best way artists or authors categorical their thought or reality on a bit of labor however not the underlying thought or reality itself. Copyright protects originality of the work and prohibits unauthorised copying. Copyright safety is eligible for the next works seek advice from Part 7 (1) of the Copyright Act, 1987:-

(a) literary works, similar to written works, novels, supply codes in pc program and net pages and content material in multimedia productions;

(b) musical and dramatic works, similar to musical rating, performs and tv scripts;

(c) creative works, similar to drawings, sculptures and pictures; and

(d) sound recordings and movies, similar to movies (conventional celluloid and varied video codecs), information, tapes and CDs of music, drama or lectures.Sadly, a lot of the copyright infringement occurring on the Web goes undetected. New blogs at occasions use present blogs for its content material and that is performed by way of copying or linking. Aside from that, posting copyrighted pictures, designs, product pictures or product packaging from one other web site can also be unlawful.There are “rules of thumb” to observe when creating or posting contents similar to:- (a) create one’s personal unique picture, graphic, code and phrases; (b) use licensed works inside the scope of permitted use laid down by the proprietor; and (c) use free pictures off the Web so long as the phrases of the creator of the picture are adopted.The identical “rules of thumb” apply when posting programming scripts as it’s usually a violation of copyright legislation to applicable programming scripts from third events. Almost about postings on one’s weblog by third events, the weblog proprietor could obtain an implied licence to the postings made by third events. When providing podcast i.e. recorded and dowloadable audio file to be downloaded from blogs it’s best that the podcast don’t include any copyrighted music belonging to others thus defending oneself from any copyright infringement fits.If copyright protects the best way concepts or details are expressed, trademark alternatively protects phrases, designs, phrases, numbers, drawings or footage related to services and products.A trademark proprietor enjoys unique proper to make use of his mark in relation to his services and products refer Part 35 (1) of the Trademark Act, 1976. Trademark safety grants proper to the trademark proprietor to stop others from utilizing an identical trademark with an identical items or comparable items that’s more likely to trigger confusion to the general public refer Part 19 (1) and 19 (2) of the Trademark Act, 1976.How does a blogger infringe trademark belonging to a different? One instance is when a blogger posts hyperlinks on logos belonging to a trademark proprietor. When a customer clicks on the trademark it can immediately lead the customer to the blogger’s weblog as a substitute of directing the customer to the trademark proprietor’s web site.Such linking could trigger confusion or deception because it raises critical threat that the weblog is ultimately related with or associated to the trademark proprietor’sproducts and companies.Typically, the time period defamation refers to a false assertion made about somebody or a company that’s damaging to their popularity. The particular person publishing the assertion should have recognized or ought to have recognized that the assertion was false. Whereas the Web offers the sector wherein defaming assertion will be made or revealed, there isn’t a particular laws that offers with defamation on the Web in Malaysia.In Malaysia, the Defamation Act, 1957 applies to publications in printed supplies and broadcasting by way of radio or tv. For the reason that legislation applies to revealed or broadcast supplies, therefore in precept it applies to supplies similar to blogs and web sites revealed on the Web.As defamation legislation is complicated there’s a want to differentiate whether or not a defamatory assertion is a libel (written kind) or slander (spoken phrases). In a case of libel, whether it is decided that the assertion is defamatory then there are presumptions in opposition to the writer or the writer. Within the case slander, there’s usually the requirement to proof precise damages or particular damages suffered as a result of defamatory assertion. Therefore, slander legislation doesn’t apply to blogs because it doesn’t fall inside the ambit of broadcasting the slanderous phrases by way of radio or tv.Attributable to fast modifications to the Web and the convergence of applied sciences, one will wonder if the courts will apply the libel legislation or slander legislation when blogs transformed from textual content to speech format are transmitted on the Web. Nonetheless, all this relies on proving defamation and discovering the identification of the blogger which will be an infinite process as a result of anonymity of the Web and its worldwide scope.One other authorized threat is when blogs are used to disseminate false,incomplete or deceptive data concerning racial disturbances or contents that trigger hatred or contempt in direction of the federal government or the ruler. In Malaysia, varied offences are supplied for within the Sedition Act 1948 similar to it’s an offence for any particular person to print, publish or distribute any seditious publication- see Part four of the Sedition Act, 1948 for different offences. Whether or not the provisions within the Act apply to publications on the Web haven’t been judicially decided.In Singapore the sedition legislation was utilized in 2005 the place the Singapore court docket jailed two customers for posting seditious remarks on the Web- Two jailed for ‘sedition’ on web, South China Morning Put up, Saturday, October 8, 2005. The South China Morning Put up reported that the case is taken into account a landmark case underscoring the federal government’s makes an attempt to control on-line expression and crack down on racial intolerance. The 2 circumstances represented the primary time Singaporeans had been prosecuted and convicted for racist expression underneath its Sedition Act.Arising from the case of the racist bloggers, on Eight November 2006 the Singapore Authorities proposed modifications to its Penal Code taking into consideration the impression of know-how such because the Web and cellular phones- seek advice from Singapore Ministry of Residence Affairs, Session Paper on the Proposed Penal Code Amendments at web page 2. The amendments cowl offences dedicated through digital medium similar to Part 298 (uttering phrases, and many others with deliberate intent to wound the spiritual emotions of any particular person) to cowl the wounding of racial emotions as properly, Part 499 (defamation) and Part 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) to broaden and embrace these “published in written, electronic or other media” see Singapore Penal Code (Modification) Invoice at pages Eight and 20. These amendments when handed empower the police and state prosecutors to prosecute these with offending blogs- Cf.Sections 298, 499 and 505 of the Malaysian Penal Code (Revised 1997).There are the reason why the authorities are taking running a blog severely as half of the those who took half within the Running a blog Asia: A Home windows Reside Report survey imagine that weblog contents are as reliable as conventional media and 1 / 4 of the respondents imagine blogs to be the quickest approach to find out about information and present affairs.With such reliance on blogs, contents containing false, incomplete or deceptive data posted on blogs not solely could trigger panic, anger, contempt or political scandals; it could additionally trigger political and financial instability.The Web presents challenges to present legal guidelines which can be gradual to offer enough safety to a celebration with respect to the use and content material of blogs. Presently, codes of observe for Web customers together with bloggers haven’t been proposed as a part of the Web regulatory regime presently working in Malaysia.As an alternative, bloggers have to practise self-regulation and perceive the authorized implications of running a blog to make sure that their blogs are written in a accountable and lawful method. With a view to defend themselves, bloggers could present phrases of use and correct disclaimer to supply some extent of consolation and safety from third events postings on their blogs.For these bloggers who will not be self-aware of the authorized dangers, efforts must be made to teach and lift consciousness to these bloggers. Maybe the social accountability lies on the Web service suppliers and web site service suppliers to create a blogger’s code of ethics to teach its bloggers to be moral in direction of their readers, the folks they write about and the authorized ramifications of their actions.First Printed at Present Regulation Journal April Half 2 [2007] 2 CLJ i