February 23, 2024

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Running a blog – Are You Exposing By yourself To Legal Liabilities?

In November 2006, Running a blog Asia: A Home windows Reside Report unveiled by Microsoft’s MSN and Home windows Live On-line Companies Small business discovered that 46% or virtually fifty percent of the on line inhabitants have a web site [Blogging Phenomenon Sweeps Asia available at PRNewswire.com].

Running a blog Asia: A Windows Dwell Report was carried out on the internet on the MSN portal across 7 international locations in Asia specifically Hong Kong, India, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand. Apparently, the report located that 56% of Malaysians blogged to specific their sights, even though 49% blogged to preserve close friends and household up-to-date.

This post focuses on Malaysian legislation nonetheless as the Online transcends boundaries and jurisdictions hence the legal guidelines of a lot of international locations may possibly use. In Malaysia, bloggers face lawful pitfalls that carry civil or prison liabilities this kind of as
(a) copyright
(b) trademark
(c) defamation and
(d) sedition.

Other than the above, a blogger ought to contemplate other authorized challenges this kind of as fraud, breach of confidentiality and misrepresentation which will not be resolved in this short article.

Copyright safeguards the way artists or authors express their thought or actuality on a piece of get the job done but not the fundamental notion or reality itself. Copyright safeguards originality of the perform and prohibits unauthorised copying. Copyright safety is qualified for the pursuing is effective refer to Area 7 (1) of the Copyright Act, 1987:-
(a) literary works, these as published operates, novels, resource codes in laptop method and world-wide-web pages and content material in multimedia productions
(b) musical and spectacular is effective, these kinds of as musical score, plays and television scripts
(c) artistic is effective, such as drawings, sculptures and photographs and
(d) sound recordings and films, this kind of as films (common celluloid and different video clip formats), information, tapes and CDs of new music, drama or lectures.

However, substantially of the copyright infringement transpiring on the Online goes undetected. New blogs at times use existing weblogs for its material and this is carried out by copying or linking. Apart from that, publishing copyrighted pictures, models, product pics or merchandise packaging from a different web-site is also unlawful.

There are “principles of thumb” to abide by when creating or publishing contents these kinds of as:- (a) generate one’s very own authentic image, graphic, code and terms (b) use certified will work in the scope of permitted use laid down by the proprietor and (c) use no cost photographs off the Internet as long as the phrases of the creator of the image are followed.

The identical “policies of thumb” implement when putting up programming scripts as it is commonly a violation of copyright law to acceptable programming scripts from third get-togethers. With regards to postings on one’s site by 3rd events, the website operator may perhaps acquire an implied licence to the postings built by third functions. When presenting podcast i.e. recorded and dowloadable audio file to be downloaded from weblogs it is very best that the podcast do not have any copyrighted tunes belonging to other people hence preserving oneself from any copyright infringement suits.

If copyright protects the way strategies or points are expressed, trademark on the other hand guards text, types, phrases, quantities, drawings or photographs associated with products and companies.

A trademark owner enjoys distinctive correct to use his mark in relation to his merchandise and expert services refer Portion 35 (1) of the Trademark Act, 1976. Trademark security grants correct to the trademark operator to prevent some others from using equivalent trademark with identical products or similar items that is very likely to induce confusion to the community refer Section 19 (1) and 19 (2) of the Trademark Act, 1976.

How does a blogger infringe trademark belonging to a different? A single case in point is when a blogger posts hyperlinks on logos belonging to a trademark operator. When a visitor clicks on the trademark it will instantly guide the customer to the blogger’s weblog in its place of directing the customer to the trademark owner’s website.

This sort of linking may well result in confusion or deception as it raises major hazard that the website is in some way connected with or relevant to the trademark owner’sproducts and products and services.

Commonly, the term defamation refers to a phony assertion created about a person or an organization that is detrimental to their standing. The individual publishing the statement should have regarded or should really have known that the assertion was untrue. Even though the World wide web gives the arena in which defaming statement can be built or revealed, there is no unique laws that deals with defamation on the World wide web in Malaysia.

In Malaysia, the Defamation Act, 1957 applies to publications in printed products and broadcasting by radio or television. Since the regulation applies to released or broadcast products, as a result in basic principle it applies to products this kind of as blogs and sites revealed on the World-wide-web.

As defamation legislation is complex there is a require to distinguish regardless of whether a defamatory statement is a libel (written sort) or slander (spoken words). In a case of libel, if it is identified that the statement is defamatory then there are presumptions from the creator or the publisher. In the circumstance slander, there is generally the prerequisite to proof real damages or unique damages endured because of to the defamatory assertion. Consequently, slander legislation does not implement to blogs as it does not drop within just the ambit of broadcasting the slanderous words by implies of radio or television.

Because of to fast improvements to the Net and the convergence of technologies, 1 will question no matter if the courts will use the libel legislation or slander law when weblogs converted from textual content to speech structure are transmitted on the Internet. However, all this relies upon on proving defamation and acquiring the id of the blogger which can be an tremendous activity owing to the anonymity of the World wide web and its around the world scope.

An additional authorized chance is when weblogs are made use of to disseminate untrue,incomplete or deceptive information and facts about racial disturbances or contents that trigger hatred or contempt to the government or the ruler. In Malaysia, different offences are provided for in the Sedition Act 1948 these types of as it is an offence for any particular person to print, publish or distribute any seditious publication- see Portion 4 of the Sedition Act, 1948 for other offences. Irrespective of whether the provisions in the Act implement to publications on the World wide web have not been judicially established.

In Singapore the sedition legislation was applied in 2005 where by the Singapore court jailed two end users for submitting seditious remarks on the Internet- Two jailed for ‘sedition’ on world wide web, South China Morning Publish, Saturday, Oct 8, 2005. The South China Morning Publish noted that the situation is deemed a landmark scenario underscoring the government’s makes an attempt to control online expression and crack down on racial intolerance. The two situations represented the initially time Singaporeans experienced been prosecuted and convicted for racist expression beneath its Sedition Act.

Arising from the scenario of the racist bloggers, on 8 November 2006 the Singapore Government proposed improvements to its Penal Code taking into account the effect of technological know-how these as the Net and mobile telephones- refer to Singapore Ministry of Property Affairs, Session Paper on the Proposed Penal Code Amendments at webpage 2. The amendments deal with offences fully commited by means of digital medium these as Part 298 (uttering words, etc with deliberate intent to wound the spiritual inner thoughts of any particular person) to protect the wounding of racial feelings as properly, Portion 499 (defamation) and Part 505 (statements conducing to public mischief) to extend and include individuals “posted in prepared, electronic or other media” see Singapore Penal Code (Amendment) Bill at webpages 8 and 20. These amendments when passed empower the police and point out prosecutors to prosecute those people with offending blogs- Cf.Sections 298, 499 and 505 of the Malaysian Penal Code (Revised 1997).

There are good reasons why the authorities are getting running a blog critically as 50 percent of the individuals that took part in the Running a blog Asia: A Windows Stay Report study feel that blog site contents are as honest as standard media and a quarter of the respondents imagine weblogs to be the fastest way to study about information and present affairs.

With these types of reliance on weblogs, contents made up of phony, incomplete or deceptive facts posted on weblogs not only may possibly cause stress, anger, contempt or political scandals it may possibly also induce political and financial instability.

The World-wide-web provides worries to present regulations that are slow to offer ample safety to a party with regard to the use and information of weblogs. At the moment, codes of follow for Net consumers like bloggers have not been proposed as component of the World wide web regulatory regime at this time operating in Malaysia.

Alternatively, bloggers have to have to practise self-regulation and realize the lawful implications of running a blog to guarantee that their weblogs are published in a responsible and lawful fashion. In purchase to protect by themselves, bloggers might give phrases of use and appropriate disclaimer to present some degree of convenience and security from third functions postings on their weblogs.

For individuals bloggers who are not self-conscious of the authorized dangers, efforts must be manufactured to teach and elevate awareness to people bloggers. Maybe the social obligation lies on the Web support vendors and website assistance suppliers to make a blogger’s code of ethics to teach its bloggers to be ethical towards their audience, the people today they create about and the authorized ramifications of their steps.

First Released at Current Law Journal April Part 2 [2007] 2 CLJ i