Running a blog – Are You Exposing On your own To Lawful Liabilities?

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In November 2006, Running a blog Asia: A Home windows Reside Report released by Microsoft’s MSN and Home windows Dwell On-line Providers Company unveiled that 46% or just about fifty percent of the online populace have a blog site [Blogging Phenomenon Sweeps Asia available at PRNewswire.com].

Running a blog Asia: A Home windows Dwell Report was carried out online on the MSN portal across 7 international locations in Asia specifically Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Interestingly, the report found that 56% of Malaysians blogged to categorical their views, whilst 49% blogged to retain close friends and family members current.

This short article focuses on Malaysian law nonetheless as the Net transcends boundaries and jurisdictions hence the guidelines of many international locations may apply. In Malaysia, bloggers facial area lawful hazards that have civil or prison liabilities such as
(a) copyright
(b) trademark
(c) defamation and
(d) sedition.

Other than the higher than, a blogger ought to consider other lawful hazards these kinds of as fraud, breach of confidentiality and misrepresentation which will not be resolved in this report.

Copyright guards the way artists or authors specific their concept or simple fact on a piece of get the job done but not the underlying thought or reality itself. Copyright guards originality of the function and prohibits unauthorised copying. Copyright protection is suitable for the pursuing functions refer to Area 7 (1) of the Copyright Act, 1987:-
(a) literary will work, these kinds of as prepared will work, novels, resource codes in computer system and internet internet pages and content material in multimedia productions
(b) musical and extraordinary operates, these as musical rating, performs and television scripts
(c) creative operates, this kind of as drawings, sculptures and photos and
(d) sound recordings and films, these kinds of as films (common celluloid and various movie formats), information, tapes and CDs of tunes, drama or lectures.

Sadly, a lot of the copyright infringement taking place on the World-wide-web goes undetected. New blogs at times use current weblogs for its content and this is done by means of copying or linking. Aside from that, putting up copyrighted pictures, models, solution shots or item packaging from one more web page is also illegal.

There are “guidelines of thumb” to follow when building or posting contents this sort of as:- (a) develop one’s possess original impression, graphic, code and text (b) use accredited is effective in the scope of permitted use laid down by the owner and (c) use no cost photos off the World wide web as very long as the phrases of the creator of the picture are followed.

The same “policies of thumb” implement when publishing programming scripts as it is normally a violation of copyright regulation to proper programming scripts from third functions. With regards to postings on one’s website by third parties, the weblog operator may possibly get an implied licence to the postings made by 3rd functions. When featuring podcast i.e. recorded and dowloadable audio file to be downloaded from blogs it is finest that the podcast do not contain any copyrighted music belonging to other individuals hence safeguarding oneself from any copyright infringement fits.

If copyright safeguards the way strategies or specifics are expressed, trademark on the other hand shields words, styles, phrases, figures, drawings or pictures linked with items and services.

A trademark owner enjoys exceptional correct to use his mark in relation to his merchandise and solutions refer Portion 35 (1) of the Trademark Act, 1976. Trademark protection grants right to the trademark proprietor to prevent many others from making use of similar trademark with similar products or related items that is probable to cause confusion to the public refer Section 19 (1) and 19 (2) of the Trademark Act, 1976.

How does a blogger infringe trademark belonging to another? Just one case in point is when a blogger posts inbound links on logos belonging to a trademark proprietor. When a customer clicks on the trademark it will instantly lead the customer to the blogger’s website as an alternative of directing the visitor to the trademark owner’s internet site.

Such linking might lead to confusion or deception as it raises critical risk that the site is in some way connected with or similar to the trademark owner’sproducts and providers.

Normally, the expression defamation refers to a phony assertion made about anyone or an organization that is detrimental to their reputation. The individual publishing the assertion ought to have known or should really have recognised that the assertion was untrue. While the World-wide-web offers the arena in which defaming statement can be built or printed, there is no certain legislation that discounts with defamation on the Net in Malaysia.

In Malaysia, the Defamation Act, 1957 applies to publications in printed products and broadcasting by radio or tv. Given that the law applies to published or broadcast components, as a result in basic principle it applies to supplies this kind of as blogs and sites published on the Online.

As defamation law is intricate there is a want to distinguish whether or not a defamatory statement is a libel (penned kind) or slander (spoken terms). In a situation of libel, if it is decided that the statement is defamatory then there are presumptions versus the author or the publisher. In the scenario slander, there is generally the need to proof real damages or special damages suffered because of to the defamatory statement. For this reason, slander regulation does not utilize to blogs as it does not fall within the ambit of broadcasting the slanderous words and phrases by usually means of radio or television.

Due to rapid changes to the World-wide-web and the convergence of systems, a single will question whether or not the courts will utilize the libel legislation or slander law when blogs converted from text to speech format are transmitted on the World-wide-web. On the other hand, all this depends on proving defamation and acquiring the identification of the blogger which can be an great process owing to the anonymity of the World-wide-web and its globally scope.

A further legal danger is when weblogs are applied to disseminate bogus,incomplete or deceptive info regarding racial disturbances or contents that trigger hatred or contempt in the direction of the government or the ruler. In Malaysia, numerous offences are furnished for in the Sedition Act 1948 such as it is an offence for any human being to print, publish or distribute any seditious publication- see Section 4 of the Sedition Act, 1948 for other offences. Whether or not the provisions in the Act use to publications on the Internet have not been judicially decided.

In Singapore the sedition legislation was applied in 2005 where by the Singapore courtroom jailed two customers for posting seditious remarks on the World wide web- Two jailed for ‘sedition’ on web, South China Early morning Publish, Saturday, October 8, 2005. The South China Morning Put up noted that the circumstance is regarded a landmark circumstance underscoring the government’s tries to control online expression and crack down on racial intolerance. The two instances represented the initially time Singaporeans experienced been prosecuted and convicted for racist expression under its Sedition Act.

Arising from the situation of the racist bloggers, on 8 November 2006 the Singapore Govt proposed variations to its Penal Code having into account the effect of technological know-how these as the Net and cell phones- refer to Singapore Ministry of House Affairs, Consultation Paper on the Proposed Penal Code Amendments at site 2. The amendments include offences committed by means of digital medium this kind of as Segment 298 (uttering words, and so on with deliberate intent to wound the spiritual thoughts of any human being) to include the wounding of racial emotions as nicely, Part 499 (defamation) and Segment 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) to extend and involve those “revealed in written, electronic or other media” see Singapore Penal Code (Amendment) Invoice at pages 8 and 20. These amendments when handed empower the police and point out prosecutors to prosecute all those with offending blogs- Cf.Sections 298, 499 and 505 of the Malaysian Penal Code (Revised 1997).

There are motives why the authorities are getting running a blog critically as fifty percent of the people that took portion in the Blogging Asia: A Home windows Reside Report survey think that blog site contents are as honest as conventional media and a quarter of the respondents consider weblogs to be the fastest way to find out about information and current affairs.

With these kinds of reliance on blogs, contents that contains phony, incomplete or misleading information posted on weblogs not only may well lead to stress, anger, contempt or political scandals it may also cause political and economic instability.

The Web provides problems to present legal guidelines that are gradual to provide suitable security to a celebration with respect to the use and content of weblogs. At present, codes of observe for Internet consumers such as bloggers have not been proposed as portion of the Online regulatory routine currently working in Malaysia.

As a substitute, bloggers want to practise self-regulation and have an understanding of the legal implications of running a blog to guarantee that their blogs are prepared in a dependable and lawful manner. In order to defend themselves, bloggers may well deliver conditions of use and good disclaimer to provide some diploma of comfort and ease and security from 3rd get-togethers postings on their blogs.

For individuals bloggers who are not self-aware of the legal risks, efforts need to be manufactured to educate and increase recognition to those people bloggers. Perhaps the social responsibility lies on the Internet provider suppliers and internet site services companies to generate a blogger’s code of ethics to educate its bloggers to be ethical towards their visitors, the folks they generate about and the lawful ramifications of their actions.

First Revealed at Existing Law Journal April Element 2 [2007] 2 CLJ i