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Sunday, June 29, 2008

T-Shirt for Bloggers

I literally laughed out loud when I saw this t-shirt featured on That IT Girl's blog. You can purchase it at the Ladybug Landings Cafepress Gift Shop.

But it brings up a good point of discussion. What exactly do you say on your blog? How negative are you willing to go? Some blogs may be a way for the blog owner and even their visitors leaving comments to vent. Others, like this one, concentrate on sharing fun ideas, information and positive energy. If you aren't bashing anyone you probably don't have to worry too much about things like defamation. I recently read an MSNBC article titled "Training helps bloggers hone professionalism" which focused on the fact that blogging inaccurate, negative content can be grounds for someone bringing a defamation lawsuit against you.

All in all I think if your blog focuses on the positive and you use common sense you can most likely avoid the slippery slope of litigation. How? By always researching for accuracy and crediting sources. Typically I will make sure everyone included in my blog not only knows they are, but I give them the option to have any content that refers to them or their company be modified to more accurately describe them. I would want the same courtesy so I approach blogging with a "do unto others" philosophy.

Another big mistake? Copyright infringement. This would include cross posting both text content from other websites and blogs and photographs. In both instances you have to use common sense. I think for the most part there is an understanding amongst bloggers that cross-posting content, meaning if you read something on someone else's blog and you want to share it with readers on your blog, it's ok as long as you provide a link back to the original source. In fact cross posting is a good thing. It helps to give your blog more exposure.

Here one of our Flirty Ideas was cross posted on Wedding.BlogDig.net

If you copy a post or source verbatim you would be obligated to both credit and link back to the original source. If you don't, you may open yourself up to a cease and desist letter or some other type of legal action landing in your email or mailbox if the original author finds out. And quite frankly it sucks being put into the position of having to contact someone to say "Hey, I see you've copied my work. Please either credit me or stop." It sounds so accusatory but something you may one day have to do to protect your own interests.

If you are ever on the other end of things and see that someone has copied your work? You can assume the worst (that someone has stolen something from you) or you can assume goodwill and that the person who copied your work simply didn't realize that they were infringing on your copyright by doing so. When it happened to me? A simple letter asking the content be removed was all it took and I must say I was happy for it as I see no point in creating hard feelings or animosity between myself and any of my fellow professionals if I can possibly avoid it. This way we call all remain on the friendliest of terms when we happen to run into each other at future industry events. To me that's the best. When you reach out to someone hoping they will understand where you are coming from. And they do :o)


  1. Stacie,

    I enjoyed your blog about defamation, copyrights, etc... I found your links to be both helpful and interesting. Because of your blog, I ended up finding an extensive link about Copyright by Wordpress that I thought you might find interesting too. From the article, I learned about "Slogs." : ) Check it out.


  2. Wow what a great article! Thanks for posting the link Lea.

    I know of two occasions where business owners hired others, a web developer in one case and a copy writer in the other, to create copy for their websites and unbeknownst to them, those they hired simply went online and stole the copy from the sites of others. When contacted both parties removed the material at once.

    I also know someone who purchased the the license to use photos from an online source on their own website. The problem was when the person who had actually created the work featured in the photos found out the person I knew was using the images they accused them of theft of their work. Not wanting to deal with confrontation the person I know simply removed the photos they had paid for from their website. The bigger issue was that the photographer might have sold the photos without obtaining a release from their client.

    So things might not always be as they appear which is why I like to give people an opportunity to explain how my material happened to show up on their site when I see my material infringed upon.

    For the sake of bloggers or other wedding site owners who would like to cross post ideas from The Flirty Guide I've changed my copyright notice on the bottom of each page of The Guide to reflect they are welcome to use the content here, with restrictions, as long as they link back to The Flirty Guide.


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