June 21, 2024


Law for politics

Blogging – Are You Exposing On your own To Legal Liabilities?

In November 2006, Blogging Asia: A Windows Dwell Report released by Microsoft’s MSN and Windows Stay On the internet Products and services Company discovered that 46% or almost 50 % of the on line population have a web site [Blogging Phenomenon Sweeps Asia available at PRNewswire.com].

Running a blog Asia: A Home windows Dwell Report was executed on the web 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 discovered that 56% of Malaysians blogged to specific their views, when 49% blogged to keep good friends and spouse and children updated.

This post focuses on Malaysian regulation nonetheless as the Online transcends boundaries and jurisdictions for that reason the rules of quite a few nations may apply. In Malaysia, bloggers face lawful risks that have civil or legal liabilities such as
(a) copyright
(b) trademark
(c) defamation and
(d) sedition.

Other than the above, a blogger will have to contemplate other legal hazards these as fraud, breach of confidentiality and misrepresentation which will not be dealt with in this article.

Copyright protects the way artists or authors convey their thought or fact on a piece of perform but not the underlying plan or point by itself. Copyright safeguards originality of the operate and prohibits unauthorised copying. Copyright safety is eligible for the next performs refer to Portion 7 (1) of the Copyright Act, 1987:-
(a) literary operates, these kinds of as created functions, novels, resource codes in computer program and world wide web web pages and content in multimedia productions
(b) musical and spectacular performs, such as musical score, plays and television scripts
(c) inventive operates, these kinds of as drawings, sculptures and images and
(d) sound recordings and films, these types of as movies (standard celluloid and many movie formats), information, tapes and CDs of music, drama or lectures.

Regretably, substantially of the copyright infringement taking place on the Web goes undetected. New blogs at moments use present weblogs for its content and this is done by way of copying or linking. Apart from that, posting copyrighted pictures, types, item images or merchandise packaging from one more internet site is also unlawful.

There are “regulations of thumb” to observe when making or publishing contents these as:- (a) generate one’s very own unique image, graphic, code and words and phrases (b) use accredited is effective within just the scope of permitted use laid down by the operator and (c) use totally free photos off the Web as lengthy as the phrases of the creator of the picture are adopted.

The same “policies of thumb” apply when putting up programming scripts as it is commonly a violation of copyright law to correct programming scripts from third functions. With regards to postings on one’s site by third parties, the weblog operator may well get an implied licence to the postings designed by third functions. When supplying podcast i.e. recorded and dowloadable audio file to be downloaded from blogs it is finest that the podcast do not consist of any copyrighted music belonging to many others thus guarding oneself from any copyright infringement fits.

If copyright protects the way thoughts or points are expressed, trademark on the other hand guards phrases, types, phrases, figures, drawings or photographs associated with products and solutions and solutions.

A trademark proprietor enjoys special correct to use his mark in relation to his products and solutions and providers refer Section 35 (1) of the Trademark Act, 1976. Trademark defense grants appropriate to the trademark owner to avoid some others from utilizing equivalent trademark with identical products or very similar items that is likely to bring about confusion to the community refer Part 19 (1) and 19 (2) of the Trademark Act, 1976.

How does a blogger infringe trademark belonging to one more? One particular instance is when a blogger posts backlinks on logos belonging to a trademark operator. When a visitor clicks on the trademark it will immediately lead the customer to the blogger’s site alternatively of directing the visitor to the trademark owner’s web page.

This kind of linking may induce confusion or deception as it raises serious risk that the weblog is in some way connected with or relevant to the trademark owner’sproducts and products and services.

Commonly, the phrase defamation refers to a phony assertion created about someone or an group that is detrimental to their popularity. The man or woman publishing the assertion will have to have known or need to have identified that the statement was false. Even though the Internet provides the arena in which defaming statement can be created or posted, there is no unique laws that specials with defamation on the Net in Malaysia.

In Malaysia, the Defamation Act, 1957 applies to publications in printed supplies and broadcasting through radio or tv. Since the legislation applies to printed or broadcast components, as a result in principle it applies to components such as blogs and sites published on the Net.

As defamation legislation is intricate there is a require to distinguish whether or not a defamatory statement is a libel (written form) or slander (spoken words). In a case of libel, if it is established that the statement is defamatory then there are presumptions versus the writer or the publisher. In the scenario slander, there is generally the requirement to proof real damages or particular damages suffered thanks to the defamatory assertion. Hence, slander legislation does not apply to weblogs as it does not tumble in just the ambit of broadcasting the slanderous terms by suggests of radio or tv.

Because of to fast adjustments to the Internet and the convergence of technologies, one will question whether or not the courts will implement the libel law or slander regulation when weblogs transformed from textual content to speech format are transmitted on the World wide web. Nonetheless, all this depends on proving defamation and obtaining the identity of the blogger which can be an massive endeavor thanks to the anonymity of the Web and its around the globe scope.

A different authorized chance is when weblogs are made use of to disseminate wrong,incomplete or deceptive info with regards to racial disturbances or contents that lead to hatred or contempt in direction of the federal government or the ruler. In Malaysia, several offences are offered for in the Sedition Act 1948 these as it is an offence for any human being to print, publish or distribute any seditious publication- see Part 4 of the Sedition Act, 1948 for other offences. No matter whether the provisions in the Act apply to publications on the Online have not been judicially identified.

In Singapore the sedition regulation was applied in 2005 where the Singapore court jailed two people for publishing seditious remarks on the Online- Two jailed for ‘sedition’ on online, South China Morning Post, Saturday, Oct 8, 2005. The South China Early morning Publish claimed that the case is thought of a landmark scenario underscoring the government’s attempts to regulate online expression and crack down on racial intolerance. The two circumstances represented the very first time Singaporeans had been prosecuted and convicted for racist expression below its Sedition Act.

Arising from the situation of the racist bloggers, on 8 November 2006 the Singapore Federal government proposed adjustments to its Penal Code having into account the impression of know-how such as the World-wide-web and cellular phones- refer to Singapore Ministry of Residence Affairs, Session Paper on the Proposed Penal Code Amendments at web site 2. The amendments deal with offences dedicated by using electronic medium these as Segment 298 (uttering words, and many others with deliberate intent to wound the religious emotions of any particular person) to deal with the wounding of racial emotions as perfectly, Portion 499 (defamation) and Segment 505 (statements conducing to general public mischief) to broaden and consist of people “published in prepared, electronic or other media” see Singapore Penal Code (Amendment) Invoice at web pages 8 and 20. These amendments when passed empower the police and point out prosecutors to prosecute individuals with offending blogs- Cf.Sections 298, 499 and 505 of the Malaysian Penal Code (Revised 1997).

There are explanations why the authorities are getting blogging severely as 50 % of the individuals that took element in the Running a blog Asia: A Windows Dwell Report survey believe that that blog contents are as trustworthy as classic media and a quarter of the respondents believe weblogs to be the fastest way to understand about information and recent affairs.

With these reliance on weblogs, contents made up of wrong, incomplete or deceptive facts posted on blogs not only may well cause panic, anger, contempt or political scandals it could also result in political and financial instability.

The Web offers worries to existing legal guidelines that are gradual to deliver adequate protection to a get together with regard to the use and written content of blogs. Now, codes of apply for Web people including bloggers have not been proposed as element of the World-wide-web regulatory routine at present working in Malaysia.

In its place, bloggers require to practise self-regulation and comprehend the legal implications of running a blog to ensure that their blogs are prepared in a responsible and lawful fashion. In order to safeguard by themselves, bloggers may well present terms of use and suitable disclaimer to offer you some degree of convenience and defense from third events postings on their blogs.

For those people bloggers who are not self-conscious of the lawful hazards, attempts need to be designed to teach and increase awareness to those people bloggers. Perhaps the social accountability lies on the Web services providers and web page provider suppliers to create a blogger’s code of ethics to teach its bloggers to be ethical in direction of their visitors, the folks they write about and the legal ramifications of their steps.

Initial Printed at Current Legislation Journal April Aspect 2 [2007] 2 CLJ i