Saturday, March 15, 2014

Legal Issues for Bloggers

Boot Key Harbor, Marathon, Florida

I neglected a whole topic during my blogging seminar the other day.  That is, legal rights and legal cautions for bloggers.  I'll try to remedy it here.

I recommend that all blog authors should read the (EF F) Electronic Frontier Foundation's publications

During the seminar I should also mention my own self-imposed policies on copyrights and attribution.  I seldom include non-original text (e.g. text that I did not author myself), but I sometimes paste reader comments to this blog into a post, so that I can discuss the comment.  I also frequently include pictures or videos from other sources.   I have a two-tier policy for pictures.
  1. When the source clearly identifies the copyright owner or it indicates "rights reserved", I write him/her and ask for permission before using it.
  2. When the source is obscure, such as an unattributed picture on Google Images, or, or on a web page, I use it without attribution or permission.  Videos on that include a box that says "copy this HTML to embed this video on your page", I just do what it says without worrying about permission.
In other words, if I am the second, third or fourth hand user, I don't worry about niceties.   Once I wrote to the Norman Rockwell foundation to ask permission to use one of Rockwell's images in a blog post.  They refused.  I abstained.

I also recommend that bloggers should read and select one of the Creative Commons legal licenses.  The site offers several choices of licenses.  I chose the "Attribution-NoDerivs" option.  Even if you want your blog to be public domain, it should be secured by a Creative Commons license.  Most people, as a minimum, wish to allow use of their blog for non-commercial purposes. 

By the way, EFF and Wikipedia are the only causes to which I donate money regularly.  I'm very Scotch.
Just today, I added links to EFF and to the Creative Commons license to the footer at the bottom of this blog page.


  1. You're a whiskey? :) I think you mean you're Scottish. I'm part Scot myself. The Gibsons got kicked out of Edinburgh before getting kicked out of Ireland and coming here.

  2. Thank you for this additional information about managing a blog. I found your seminar informative and enjoyable.


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