A gift to bloggers: A stay-out-of-court card

At CUNY’s Graduate School of Journalism, where I teach, I’m grateful to report that we just were awarded a grant from the Knight Foundation to create a guide with the top 10 rules bloggers and amateur journalists need to stay out of court. My colleague at CUNY, Geanne Rosenberg, who is a law-school graduate and is also journalism director at CUNY’s Baruch College, will be the primary author and I’ll help where I can. Gary Kebbel, Knight Foundation journalism program officer, said in the press release: “If this grant helps keep just one blogger out of court for reporting the news, it served its purpose.”

This could not come at a more opportune moment. See the list of suits against bloggers maintained by the Media Law Research Center. Other are, thank goodness, finally working on this problem. Bob Cox at the Media Bloggers Association, has been a tireless advocate for bloggers in courts and legislatures. And the Berkman Center at Harvard Law School is also offering help. We need all the help we can get to assure not only that bloggers stay out of court but that we all maintain our free speech, free of suit and harassment.

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  • Excellent news.

  • Interesting and hopeful. I wonder, does the publishing of private information of other bloggers, for the stated purposes of harrassment, indicate the need for court action; and in that case, will guidelines contraindicate such practices?

  • The problems isn’t so much Bloggers staying out of court – as the need to learn fair journalism and objective editing skills.

    A blogger by himself doing what a newspaper with decades of experienced editors and legal teams have been trained to do

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  • The removal of Internet libel defamation & online defamation
    I am researching the progression of internet libel & online defamation/ extortion & the emotional and financial fallout.
    Based on my research, “winners” in court are far and few between. But online slander, libel & defamation is obviously a significant problem. These guys make a living out of getting online libel removed with out-of-court solutions, but they also assist attorneys in investigations: http://www.rexxfield.com . They do pro bono for victims that can’t get work due to libel.
    I am seeking case studies:
    • Please help me if you know of real life examples of the following:
    • Suicides or attempted suicide due to online libel or internet defamation
    • Bankruptcy due to online defamation or internet based libel
    • Divorce due to online libel or internet defamation
    • Termination of employment due to online defamation or web based libel
    • Physical assaults due to online libel or internet defamation
    • Successful litigation against online libel or internet defamation activities
    If there is someone else undertaking a similar study wishing to collaborate, I’d love to hear from you. The internet is a big place, there is much to sift through.
    Thank you very much,
    yaaawnn AT gmail DOT com (that is G M A I L in case it doesn’t appear )
    Keyw0rds only:
    • Internet libel
    • Online libel
    • Web based libel
    • Internet defamation
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    • Internet slander
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    • Web based slander