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Legal Guide to Blogging

Liberty_waits_adI'd like to add my voice to the many bloggers who have commended the team at the Electronic Frontier Foundation for their fantastic, consumer-friendly Legal Guide for Bloggers, launched on June 13 when I was speaking in Germany.

I have read -- on too many blogs to trackback -- that Kurt Opsahl coordinated the project, involved many people at EFF, including bloggers Donna Wentworth and Wendy Seltzer. The whole team gets credit for a legal guide that is, frankly, a fun read. At one point the FAQ reads, "Enough of your legal mumbo-jumbo, give it to me straight!" The result, as Bob Ambrogi writes, is "a legal guide that's not just for bloggers."

No indeed, says Seltzer, whom I interviewed about the guide after learning of her role heading up The Chilling Effects Clearinghouse. When I asked her about its activist tone, she told me,

"Some of this document is encouraging people as they think of themselves as journalists to take advantage of some of the newsgathering opportunities that are out there. Sometimes it helps for people to go back and think from time to time about what it means that Congress can't restrict the freedom of speech or of the press. The Freedom of Information Act is a very powerful statute ... Bloggers who have a deep interest in something and expect that there might be some government records relevant to their subject should very much think about, 'Are there records that I could help bring out into the public because that's not limited to people writing for dead-tree media?'"

You can hear more from Seltzer and Lauren Gelman, associate director of Stanford Law School's Center for Internet and Society and author of the bloggers' amicus brief in Apple v. Does, by listening to my audio interviews with them here. I spoke to them in advance of their appearance at BlogHer Conference '05, where Law.com Editorial Director Jennifer Collins will walk them through their legal tips for a consumer blogging audience.

Hint: If you're not donating to EFF and you're a blogger, you should be. Off to walk my talk ...

Posted by Laurel Newby on June 23, 2005 at 01:27 PM | Permalink | TrackBack (0)

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