Over the next few weeks I'll be posting about various topics we cover in the CMLP's Citizen Media Legal Guide. If you would like to read any of the previous "highlights" from the guide, you can find them here.
Today, I'll start with the risks associated with publishing online (for information on the legal risks associated with gathering, as opposed to publishing, information, see the Newsgathering section of the CMLP's legal guide). Every time you publish something online, whether it's a news
article, blog post, podcast, video, or even a user comment, you open
yourself up to potential legal liability. This shouldn't come as too
much of a surprise because the Internet, after all, is available to
anyone who wishes to connect to the network, and even the smallest blog
or most obscure discussion forum has the potential to reach hundreds of
millions of people throughout the world.
Often the legal risks are small, but not always. The risks you
could face when you publish online can take a number of forms,
depending on what and how you publish. This post and the legal guide sections it links to are not
intended to make you an expert on media law, but merely to help you
identify potential "red flags" so that when you publish something that
might result in liability, you will know to be extra careful and will
take the necessary steps to minimize your potential legal risks.