Protect your reputation by carefully vetting blog comments that might be construed as defamation.
Despite a recent Sydney court ruling finding that ‘participants can be sued for making racially offensive comments, but the same rules might not apply for those who run the online forums’, Electronic Frontiers Australia spokesperson Dale Clapperton says the case reminds us that forum operators (incl bloggers, I guess) were still exposed to significant legal liability in areas such as copyright and defamation. Mathew Dunckley – reporting in The Age – cites a case that involves deragatory, possibly anti-semitic remarks written by a builder on a Builders Collective of Australia web forum. While the forum host was exonerated, the comment ‘post-er’ (strangely not named) got his e-knuckes rapped and ordered to pay costs for breaching the Racial Discrimination Act.
The court decision surprised media legal eagles who previously thought publishers were responsible for comments they allowed to be posted. The new case findings go against a trend where online site owners/moderators had been sued after they’d allowed damaging comments to be posted.