With the rise of blogging as a recognized form of journalism “has come greater scrutiny and the inevitable rise in legal threats facing bloggers,” says David Cox of the Media Bloggers Association (MBA), a not-for-profit, non-partisan organization supporting the development of blogging and citizen journalism. The MBA has recently announced a program to offer “liability insurance program for bloggers which provides coverage for all forms of defamation, invasion of privacy and copyright infringement or similar allegations arising out of blogging activities.”
As bloggers take up larger roles in journalism, public commentary, and social discourse, the individuals and organization they write about are increasingly paying attention. The risks of being accused of libelous, defamatory, or other language are the same as in any other media; the world is now paying more attention. The MBA now offers an online course, “Online Media Law: The Basics for Bloggers and Other Online Publishers,” without charge. Upon completing the course, students are offered the opportunity to join the MBA and then to purchase (at a discount) the liability insurance. Anyone who has taken the course has access to directories of attorneys specializing in online libel cases.
Is it worth the cost of an MBA membership ($25/year) and insurance (I could not find details of the insurance cost on the MBA site) to mitigate against what I suspect is a small risk for me? Probably not, in my case. The more controversial a blogger’s posts, though, the more likely it is that someone might find them legally troublesome (and not just annoying).
RSS and Legal Liability (4/24/2008)
Disclaimer: I have no affiliation whatsoever with the Media Bloggers Association.