Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Blogger beware- you can't just say anything you want.

Some idiot blogged defamatory comments about his lawyer and got busted for libel to the tune of $50,000. It was in the USA Today.

Banks (the lawyer), saying the postings were false, sued Milum (the blogger). And last January, Milum became the first blogger in the USA to lose a libel suit, according to the Media Law Resource Center in New York, which tracks litigation involving bloggers. Milum was ordered to pay Banks $50,000.

So, you just say whatever you like. Here's a definition of libel:

A false publication, as in writing, print, signs, or pictures, that damages a person's reputation.
In other words you can't lie about someone. You can tell the truth and damage someone's reputation, but you can't lie about it.

So, gentle reader, let's be careful out there.


Anonymous said...

Telling the truth and hurting someone's reputation may not be a crime, but it is the sin of detraction if you are telling someone who doesn't have a right to know the information.

For instance, a wife may have a right to know that her husband is cheating on her. Also, it may be relevant to the trustworthiness of the person, and so others who are depending on this person's honesty may have a right to know in order to defend themselves. But to tell others who have no right to know, and only in order to hurt the person's reputation, would be the sin of detraction.

Tim said...

Good point.
I originally intended the post to be about the legal ramifications of blogging.
I did make general statements, though, about what one can post. I guess this lends itself to what one ought and ought not to post in light of moral obligation.