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Blogging is not an entirely free-for-all venue. There are certain rules that still have to observed to avoid getting into trouble. There are serious legal issues that will have to be faced if and when a blogger crosses certain lines.

The issue of using other people’s materials has always been the subject of much discussion

There are some really basic things to remember so as not to go wrong.  First thing to remember is that a creator has rights to his works.  An individual can never fail to distinguish between what is his and isn’t because it is impossible not to know in one’s conscience if he is claiming an original work of another. Anything  owned by another will necessary require permission, attribution, or both.

The issue of how to control how one’s work can be used by others is a subject not addressed often enough

Many presume that they will not encounter problems of having their own work copied and plagiarized until they actually come across such copy. It has to be realized that in the real online world, protection of work can never be an absolute assurance. Owners should initiate protecting themselves from potential copycats.

The issue of using a blog as a platform for harassment and defamation is generally frowned upon at best and is a ground for legal action at its worst

Many are in the opinion that the rules of traditional media do not cover bloggers.  This view has emboldened many to express views that should have at least come with supporting facts to be at least defensible.    The freedom in having no one to “police” articles before publishing has resulted to a lot of articles that have destroyed reputations in one click.  This same freedom though has been used for more noble reasons.

Bloggers who are clear about legal issues pertaining to blogging will have no problems if they move within the bounds of common respect.  Providing information and sharing of personal experiences are the most common reasons for personal blogging.  Business bloggers on the other hand use it to promote products and services.  All these  are useful reasons that serve the needs of readers.

When certain information that has the potential to affect other people especially in the negative sense is used, it would be best to check sources,  determine possible legal liabilities, and distinguish facts from opinions.  Disclosure of sources of sensitive information may have to be provided in the interest of fair play.

Teresa is a researcher-writer who covers a wide range of topics in search of useful information.