By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
Blogging & Tweeting Without Getting Sued
By Mark Pearson (Allen & Unwin, $22.99, softcover, 222 pages)
When we write online, we become international publishers. A sobering thought, with many of us not even giving much thought to the accompanying legal pitfalls.
This timely legal guide makes the rapidly evolving media landscape accessible to those writing online.
Mark Pearson, Professor of Journalism at Bond University, says the book is not aimed at lawyers or academics, but is meant to be an accessible read for the lay blogger or social media user who wants an introduction to the main drawbacks in the law of online writing and publishing.
It is for the countless users who “realise they now have the same legal obligations as large media organizations, but lack their experience, knowledge and muscle”.
Remember, “every time we blog, tweet or comment on a website”, you may be subject to the laws of more than 200 legal jurisdictions throughout cyberspace.
This useful handbook gives a global synopsis of laws such as contempt of court, breach of copyright, defamation, privacy, confidentiality, hate speech, false advertising, identity theft and incitement or rebellion as they operate in a range of countries.
Spelled out are some unforgettable international and Australian examples including tweeting from a London court house in Julian Assange’s bail hearing and Derryn Hinch’s breach of suppression orders.
Each chapter is introduced with a clever ‘twit brief’, an ‘in brief’ conclusion sets out dot points of summary of the discussed principles and there’s a handy resources list.
Pearson says: “It is a frightening thought that each time you post a blog update or social media message you may be subject to the laws of more than 600 nations, provinces, states and territories”.
We can never be quite sure where our online words, sounds and images might finish up. “If in doubt, invest in some legal advice. You can’t put a price on your liberty.”
Edition 318, 19 June 2012
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.