Running a blog – Are You Exposing Yourself To Authorized Liabilities?

In November 2006, Running a blog Asia: A Home windows Reside Report introduced by Microsoft’s MSN and Home windows Live On line Solutions Small business uncovered that 46% or virtually fifty percent of the on the net inhabitants have a blog site [Blogging Phenomenon Sweeps Asia available at].

Blogging Asia: A Home windows Reside Report was executed on-line on the MSN portal across 7 nations around the world in Asia namely Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Apparently, the report identified that 56% of Malaysians blogged to categorical their sights, though 49% blogged to preserve good friends and loved ones updated.

This short article focuses on Malaysian legislation nonetheless as the World-wide-web transcends boundaries and jurisdictions as a result the legal guidelines of a lot of nations may perhaps use. In Malaysia, bloggers experience authorized challenges that carry civil or legal liabilities these as
(a) copyright
(b) trademark
(c) defamation and
(d) sedition.

Other than the over, a blogger need to consider other legal challenges these kinds of as fraud, breach of confidentiality and misrepresentation which will not be addressed in this post.

Copyright guards the way artists or authors express their idea or fact on a piece of get the job done but not the underlying concept or actuality alone. Copyright protects originality of the operate and prohibits unauthorised copying. Copyright protection is suitable for the subsequent operates refer to Section 7 (1) of the Copyright Act, 1987:-
(a) literary works, such as published is effective, novels, source codes in personal computer method and net webpages and content in multimedia productions
(b) musical and dramatic performs, this sort of as musical rating, plays and tv scripts
(c) creative is effective, these types of as drawings, sculptures and photos and
(d) seem recordings and movies, this kind of as movies (common celluloid and various movie formats), records, tapes and CDs of tunes, drama or lectures.

Regretably, significantly of the copyright infringement happening on the Web goes undetected. New blogs at instances use existing weblogs for its written content and this is performed by means of copying or linking. Aside from that, posting copyrighted images, types, solution photos or product or service packaging from a different internet site is also unlawful.

There are “procedures of thumb” to abide by when creating or publishing contents these kinds of as:- (a) make one’s individual first image, graphic, code and words and phrases (b) use accredited functions within just the scope of permitted use laid down by the owner and (c) use no cost images off the Web as long as the phrases of the creator of the picture are followed.

The similar “policies of thumb” utilize when posting programming scripts as it is generally a violation of copyright regulation to ideal programming scripts from third events. With regards to postings on one’s weblog by 3rd functions, the web site operator may receive an implied licence to the postings made by 3rd functions. When featuring podcast i.e. recorded and dowloadable audio file to be downloaded from weblogs it is best that the podcast do not contain any copyrighted songs belonging to others so defending oneself from any copyright infringement suits.

If copyright safeguards the way suggestions or information are expressed, trademark on the other hand shields phrases, layouts, phrases, numbers, drawings or pictures involved with items and companies.

A trademark operator enjoys exclusive ideal to use his mark in relation to his items and expert services refer Area 35 (1) of the Trademark Act, 1976. Trademark security grants proper to the trademark owner to avert some others from making use of similar trademark with identical items or very similar products that is likely 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 yet another? A single case in point is when a blogger posts back links on logos belonging to a trademark owner. When a visitor clicks on the trademark it will directly direct the visitor to the blogger’s blog instead of directing the visitor to the trademark owner’s website.

This kind of linking may well lead to confusion or deception as it raises significant hazard that the weblog is in some way linked with or associated to the trademark owner’sproducts and solutions.

Frequently, the expression defamation refers to a false assertion made about someone or an organization that is harming to their name. The human being publishing the statement have to have regarded or should really have acknowledged that the assertion was wrong. Though the World wide web gives the arena in which defaming statement can be created or printed, there is no certain legislation that discounts with defamation on the Internet in Malaysia.

In Malaysia, the Defamation Act, 1957 applies to publications in printed supplies and broadcasting by radio or tv. Due to the fact the legislation applies to published or broadcast products, therefore in principle it applies to materials these kinds of as blogs and internet websites posted on the Online.

As defamation law is sophisticated there is a want to distinguish regardless of whether a defamatory statement is a libel (prepared variety) or slander (spoken phrases). In a situation of libel, if it is decided that the assertion is defamatory then there are presumptions versus the writer or the publisher. In the case slander, there is usually the need to proof precise damages or exclusive damages endured due to the defamatory assertion. That’s why, slander legislation does not apply to weblogs as it does not drop inside the ambit of broadcasting the slanderous phrases by suggests of radio or tv.

Because of to quick improvements to the Internet and the convergence of technologies, a single will question no matter if the courts will implement the libel law or slander law when weblogs transformed from textual content to speech structure are transmitted on the World-wide-web. On the other hand, all this is dependent on proving defamation and obtaining the identification of the blogger which can be an huge job because of to the anonymity of the Internet and its all over the world scope.

A further lawful hazard is when blogs are utilized to disseminate fake,incomplete or deceptive info regarding racial disturbances or contents that induce hatred or contempt to the authorities or the ruler. In Malaysia, various offences are supplied for in the Sedition Act 1948 this kind of as it is an offence for any person to print, publish or distribute any seditious publication- see Area 4 of the Sedition Act, 1948 for other offences. Regardless of whether the provisions in the Act utilize to publications on the Web have not been judicially determined.

In Singapore the sedition law was applied in 2005 where by the Singapore courtroom jailed two end users for submitting seditious remarks on the World-wide-web- Two jailed for ‘sedition’ on world wide web, South China Morning Post, Saturday, Oct 8, 2005. The South China Early morning Submit documented that the scenario is thought of a landmark circumstance underscoring the government’s attempts to regulate on the web expression and crack down on racial intolerance. The two instances represented the initially time Singaporeans experienced been prosecuted and convicted for racist expression underneath its Sedition Act.

Arising from the situation of the racist bloggers, on 8 November 2006 the Singapore Governing administration proposed changes to its Penal Code taking into account the influence of technologies these kinds of as the Net and mobile phones- refer to Singapore Ministry of Dwelling Affairs, Consultation Paper on the Proposed Penal Code Amendments at page 2. The amendments protect offences committed by way of digital medium this sort of as Section 298 (uttering terms, and so on with deliberate intent to wound the religious thoughts of any person) to cover the wounding of racial thoughts as nicely, Portion 499 (defamation) and Area 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) to grow and contain these “printed in composed, digital or other media” see Singapore Penal Code (Modification) Monthly bill at internet pages 8 and 20. These amendments when passed empower the law enforcement and condition prosecutors to prosecute all those with offending weblogs- Cf.Sections 298, 499 and 505 of the Malaysian Penal Code (Revised 1997).

There are factors why the authorities are taking blogging severely as 50 % of the people today that took aspect in the Blogging Asia: A Windows Stay Report survey believe that website contents are as dependable as common media and a quarter of the respondents think weblogs to be the fastest way to discover about news and present-day affairs.

With these types of reliance on blogs, contents made up of wrong, incomplete or misleading information posted on blogs not only might result in panic, anger, contempt or political scandals it may possibly also induce political and financial instability.

The World-wide-web presents issues to current rules that are slow to supply sufficient defense to a get together with regard to the use and content of weblogs. At this time, codes of apply for Net people which includes bloggers have not been proposed as component of the World-wide-web regulatory routine currently functioning in Malaysia.

Alternatively, bloggers need to practise self-regulation and have an understanding of the lawful implications of blogging to make sure that their blogs are written in a accountable and lawful fashion. In purchase to shield themselves, bloggers may well offer terms of use and appropriate disclaimer to provide some degree of ease and comfort and defense from 3rd functions postings on their blogs.

For these bloggers who are not self-conscious of the authorized dangers, attempts need to be created to educate and elevate recognition to those bloggers. Possibly the social obligation lies on the Internet services providers and web site services suppliers to make a blogger’s code of ethics to educate its bloggers to be ethical to their readers, the persons they compose about and the lawful ramifications of their steps.

First Printed at Present Legislation Journal April Section 2 [2007] 2 CLJ i

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