Thursday, September 29, 2005

You Are What You Post- Blogging Responsibility

You are what you eat. Right? Then, you are what you post. Right?

As a blogger, you are responsible for what you write. I answered this question of responsibility on WNAA 90.1FM, NC A&T's radio station, yesterday. I said that you are no less responsible then the Washington Post or New York Times. You are no less responsible then AP or Reuters. The main thing you are responsible for in your content is libel and slander. They are the two main components in defamation of character. This article on a law website explains in detail how this works.

As a blogger you are a publisher. You release your work to the world via the world wide web. You publish your work like Pendant and Simon and Schuster publishes books. If I write a story about how subject X does this when subject X really did that, it is a lie. If that lie defames the reputation of subject X, then I can be held responsible for libel in a court of law.

The reason I write this piece on ethics in blogging and the legal responsibility of a blogger is because of this post. I commented on this post that the writer should be careful what he posts, it borders on libel. He commented today on a post on my site, that has no relevance to the subject, a question of how he had slandered me. This here is the post to discuss it. My answer to his question is that you did not slander me or anyone else, but you did boarder on libel, according to the dictionary definition.

I want to be frank to all who read me and write about me. I use a creative commons license for my published work. It is copywritten. Quoting me in context is fine, out of context is not fine. Stealing my work and not crediting me is copyright infringement. When and if you write about me, be truthful and not mean. Use fact to back up your agreement or disagreement with me. It is OK to disagree with me and my points of view. It is not OK to label me inappropriately or to defame my community standing, which I think happens to be good.

I defend everyone's right to use the 1st amendment to the constitution as long as it is available to us all. I defended my commenter on his right to post at the local aggregrator Greensboro101. I serve on the editorial board for 101 and some of my commenters post were becoming a little bothersome for most, in my opinion. I didn't say he should be removed, censored, edited, or limited. No one on the board did. I said he has the right to post, just like the rest of us. I completely disagree with his point of view, but that does not change his rights, that just means I probably won't read or support him. I did say that he has to be responsible for his posts and that if he is quoting someone, ethics dictate that a link is appropriate at the spot of the quote.

When people call other people names, not a lot gets solved. Look how much I have solved my problem with our countries leader. He somehow still leads us. I will call it as I see it, but I will have fact, to back up the fact that I called someone a name or labeled someone. I expect the same out of everyone else. Civil discourse is OK. It is OK to have the discussion and argument. Uncivil discourse is not and then the argument turns into a personal attack on someone, to which you are responsible for your side of the dialogue. Think before you type, have your facts straight, and calculate your opinions. Look both ways before you blog. You might just find yourself in trouble if you don't.
Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License.