Running a blog – Are You Exposing Oneself To Lawful Liabilities?

In November 2006, Running a blog Asia: A Windows Dwell Report unveiled by Microsoft’s MSN and Home windows Stay On the internet Expert services Organization discovered that 46% or nearly half of the on the internet populace have a web site [Blogging Phenomenon Sweeps Asia available at].

Running a blog Asia: A Windows Reside Report was executed on-line on the MSN portal throughout 7 nations around the world in Asia specifically Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Interestingly, the report uncovered that 56% of Malaysians blogged to specific their sights, when 49% blogged to retain friends and household up to date.

This short article focuses on Malaysian law even so as the Web transcends boundaries and jurisdictions consequently the legal guidelines of many nations around the world may use. In Malaysia, bloggers facial area lawful pitfalls that carry civil or prison liabilities these types of as
(a) copyright
(b) trademark
(c) defamation and
(d) sedition.

Other than the higher than, a blogger have to look at other lawful risks these types of as fraud, breach of confidentiality and misrepresentation which will not be addressed in this short article.

Copyright guards the way artists or authors express their strategy or truth on a piece of do the job but not the fundamental thought or fact by itself. Copyright protects originality of the work and prohibits unauthorised copying. Copyright safety is eligible for the adhering to functions refer to Section 7 (1) of the Copyright Act, 1987:-
(a) literary functions, this sort of as composed operates, novels, source codes in laptop plan and web web pages and content in multimedia productions
(b) musical and extraordinary will work, such as musical score, performs and tv scripts
(c) creative will work, this kind of as drawings, sculptures and pictures and
(d) audio recordings and films, this sort of as films (classic celluloid and different video clip formats), documents, tapes and CDs of music, drama or lectures.

Regrettably, significantly of the copyright infringement happening on the World wide web goes undetected. New weblogs at moments use existing blogs for its information and this is accomplished by copying or linking. Apart from that, posting copyrighted images, layouts, products photographs or item packaging from an additional website is also unlawful.

There are “principles of thumb” to observe when building or submitting contents these kinds of as:- (a) develop one’s possess authentic image, graphic, code and words and phrases (b) use accredited works in the scope of permitted use laid down by the proprietor and (c) use cost-free pictures off the World-wide-web as very long as the phrases of the creator of the graphic are followed.

The similar “policies of thumb” utilize when publishing programming scripts as it is usually a violation of copyright legislation to proper programming scripts from third parties. With regards to postings on one’s weblog by third events, the blog site proprietor may get an implied licence to the postings created by 3rd events. When presenting podcast i.e. recorded and dowloadable audio file to be downloaded from weblogs it is best that the podcast do not incorporate any copyrighted audio belonging to other people hence protecting oneself from any copyright infringement suits.

If copyright protects the way strategies or facts are expressed, trademark on the other hand shields words and phrases, patterns, phrases, figures, drawings or shots affiliated with products and providers.

A trademark operator enjoys distinctive suitable to use his mark in relation to his merchandise and solutions refer Section 35 (1) of the Trademark Act, 1976. Trademark protection grants ideal to the trademark owner to reduce many others from working with similar trademark with similar merchandise or similar goods that is possible to result in confusion to the public refer Portion 19 (1) and 19 (2) of the Trademark Act, 1976.

How does a blogger infringe trademark belonging to one more? A person illustration is when a blogger posts backlinks on logos belonging to a trademark operator. When a customer clicks on the trademark it will immediately lead the customer to the blogger’s blog site alternatively of directing the customer to the trademark owner’s site.

These kinds of linking may possibly lead to confusion or deception as it raises serious danger that the site is in some way connected with or related to the trademark owner’sproducts and solutions.

Frequently, the phrase defamation refers to a fake assertion designed about anyone or an business that is detrimental to their reputation. The person publishing the statement should have known or ought to have acknowledged that the assertion was bogus. Although the Internet gives the arena in which defaming assertion can be built or published, there is no particular laws that deals with defamation on the World-wide-web in Malaysia.

In Malaysia, the Defamation Act, 1957 applies to publications in printed products and broadcasting by radio or tv. Since the legislation applies to posted or broadcast products, consequently in theory it applies to materials this kind of as weblogs and web sites published on the Web.

As defamation law is elaborate there is a will need to distinguish no matter whether a defamatory assertion is a libel (prepared type) or slander (spoken words and phrases). In a scenario of libel, if it is decided that the assertion is defamatory then there are presumptions towards the author or the publisher. In the scenario slander, there is normally the prerequisite to proof actual damages or unique damages endured because of to the defamatory assertion. As a result, slander legislation does not implement to blogs as it does not drop in just the ambit of broadcasting the slanderous phrases by indicates of radio or tv.

Because of to immediate variations to the Web and the convergence of technologies, one particular will surprise whether or not the courts will apply the libel legislation or slander legislation when weblogs transformed from textual content to speech structure are transmitted on the World wide web. Nonetheless, all this is dependent on proving defamation and finding the id of the blogger which can be an monumental process because of to the anonymity of the World wide web and its throughout the world scope.

An additional authorized hazard is when blogs are used to disseminate phony,incomplete or misleading facts about racial disturbances or contents that lead to hatred or contempt to the authorities or the ruler. In Malaysia, several offences are supplied for in the Sedition Act 1948 these kinds of as it is an offence for any individual to print, publish or distribute any seditious publication- see Section 4 of the Sedition Act, 1948 for other offences. No matter whether the provisions in the Act implement to publications on the Web have not been judicially established.

In Singapore the sedition law was used in 2005 where the Singapore courtroom jailed two buyers for posting seditious remarks on the Online- Two jailed for ‘sedition’ on online, South China Morning Article, Saturday, Oct 8, 2005. The South China Early morning Put up noted that the scenario is thought of a landmark scenario underscoring the government’s attempts to regulate on line expression and crack down on racial intolerance. The two instances represented the to start with time Singaporeans experienced been prosecuted and convicted for racist expression under its Sedition Act.

Arising from the scenario of the racist bloggers, on 8 November 2006 the Singapore Authorities proposed alterations to its Penal Code having into account the affect of technologies such as the Web and cellular phones- refer to Singapore Ministry of Dwelling Affairs, Session Paper on the Proposed Penal Code Amendments at web site 2. The amendments address offences dedicated by using electronic medium these types of as Area 298 (uttering terms, and so forth with deliberate intent to wound the spiritual feelings of any individual) to deal with the wounding of racial thoughts as properly, Portion 499 (defamation) and Segment 505 (statements conducing to general public mischief) to extend and incorporate all those “revealed in penned, electronic or other media” see Singapore Penal Code (Amendment) Bill at webpages 8 and 20. These amendments when handed empower the law enforcement and point out prosecutors to prosecute all those with offending weblogs- Cf.Sections 298, 499 and 505 of the Malaysian Penal Code (Revised 1997).

There are factors why the authorities are taking blogging critically as half of the men and women that took portion in the Blogging Asia: A Home windows Live Report study believe that that site contents are as reliable as regular media and a quarter of the respondents consider blogs to be the fastest way to study about news and latest affairs.

With these kinds of reliance on blogs, contents made up of wrong, incomplete or misleading facts posted on blogs not only may result in worry, anger, contempt or political scandals it may perhaps also trigger political and financial instability.

The Net presents troubles to present rules that are sluggish to present ample protection to a occasion with respect to the use and material of blogs. At the moment, codes of follow for World-wide-web consumers which include bloggers have not been proposed as portion of the Net regulatory routine currently running in Malaysia.

As a substitute, bloggers want to practise self-regulation and recognize the legal implications of blogging to assure that their weblogs are prepared in a dependable and lawful fashion. In buy to defend them selves, bloggers may give conditions of use and good disclaimer to give some degree of consolation and security from third get-togethers postings on their weblogs.

For these bloggers who are not self-informed of the legal pitfalls, attempts must be made to educate and elevate awareness to those people bloggers. Maybe the social accountability lies on the Internet service suppliers and web-site support providers to make a blogger’s code of ethics to teach its bloggers to be ethical towards their audience, the men and women they produce about and the lawful ramifications of their steps.

Very first Published at Latest Legislation Journal April Element 2 [2007] 2 CLJ i

share this recipe:

Still hungry? Here’s more