Friday, May 06, 2005

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Side Thoughts: Blogging, Work and the Law

Ephraim Schwartz at Infoworld writes an interesting article about blogging, companies and the law (at least in the U.S.)...

Suppose, for example, an employee says very negative things about a competitor or publishes an unfair product comparison. If these opinions are stated as facts and they are not true, it could lead to a “trade disparagement” suit. Similarly, if an employee says bad and untrue things about an individual, both the employee and the company might be liable.

Use of somebody else’s material in a company blog could also make the company liable for copyright infringement. Publishing a paragraph from a book is probably OK, says Kevin DeBre, also of Greenberg Glusker’s intellectual property and technology practice. If a blogger publishes the entire first chapter, however, then the blogger and his company could be liable.

Neff painted another interesting scenario: What if an employee says his company doesn’t expect to do that well in the next quarter, despite public statements to the contrary? Under Sarbanes-Oxley, the company could have a big problem. Or, in high tech especially, what if a blogger complains that the company’s CEO has been up in Redmond an awful lot lately? Did somebody say acquisition?

If you blog at work or about work, it's worth reading (click here).


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