Friday, October 27, 2006

Thinking About Blogs And The Problems They Can Cause

If you are reading this, then I am going to assume you understand the basics of a blog. Recently, blogs have become the subject of a bit of legal thought and especially how the blog can be used in the workplace. The first time I remember hearing about people being penalized for what is said in a blog was the Delta Stewardess incident where she was fired for her postings.

More recently, there was the Apple lawsuit against bloggers who publishing information about Apple products which they did not want to get out in the public. The California Court of Appeals for the Sixth District came to the conclusion that authors of those postings were journalists and therefore accorded the same protections, especially when it comes to the reporter sheild law.

All of which leads to today. A friend of mine was quoted in someone else blog. Now this blogger writes on a variety of topics, including where he works, used to work, and more recently what happened when he got his nails done. In the original posting, he put her first name and identified what department she worked in at the company she works at. He also attributed a quote to my friend to the effect that the company was falling apart and about to go under. Now, apparently this blog has a bit of a following at the blogger's old job, where my friend works. And one of them appears to be in a managerial capacity. And this manager apparently showed it to some other people in power.

And suddenly my friend was called on the carpet and was issued a formal warning, which at that company is effective double secret probation. Alright, so it isn't that arbitrary, however the point is that she never made the comment. It was simply attributed to her by a reckless blogger.

Now I need to go and see about what legal remedies are available in a situation like this. I think at the least the blogger needs to do more than change her name in the posting from her name to "she who must not be named". A nice posting of apology with a retraction in full is what should happen.

Time to see what New York Times v. Sullivan has as its progeny in the digital age.

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