Three Excellent Ways to Get Sued as a Blogger

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  • Published on : Jan 17 2011

If you run a business online, or even just a blog, you are opening up yourself to a world of potential lawsuits. Everything on the internet isn’t free to grab and do what you like  with.  What you say or post on your web site or blog can easily land you with a unfriendly letter from an attorney, or have a lawsuit coming your way. Here are some of the top ways bloggers may find themselves in trouble when posting content on their sites.

1.) Image and Photo Copyrights

Looking for a great image for your new blog post? Heading over to Google and doing an image search and grabbing/posting any images you like to your blog isn’t a great idea. Just like any other product or created work, images and photography take time to create and also have copyrights and costs. Instead of jeopardizing your blog and getting sued, spend a few dollars on royalty free stock images at sites like Fotolia and iStockPhoto. There are also a ton of free icon and image web sites that won’t cost you any money at all.

2.) Auto Blog Posting

Over the past few years, auto blog posting has become increasingly popular. In short, auto blog posting is setting up a blog and having content taken from other web sites and blogs, then posted on your site automatically. While this may be acceptable if you are working with some article directories and shopping sites that allow this, you may be safe. However, if your auto blog starts grabbing copyrighted material, you can easily see fines of $100,000+ per article taken and posted without information.

3.) Posting False, Misleading or Personal Information

No one likes to have their private and personal information spread around the internet, let alone find misleading or false information about the ways companies do business. From celebrity web sites to coupon web sites, individuals and companies who are finding information that is personal, false or harmful are taking action. Yes, we do all have the freedom of speech, but at the same time, everyone has the right to sue over anything they like, so be careful what you write about.

As a whole, the internet and blogging is still in infancy and new laws are being created all the time. If individuals / lawyers think they can make a quick buck taking action against web site, be sure it will happen. Before posting your next blog content, make sure you are covered and that your content doesn’t fall into any of these area. For more information and ways to avoid getting sued as a blogger, check out this article from Jonathan at BloggingTips.com.

Zac Johnson
My name is Zac Johnson and I have been an online entrepreneur for the past 18 years and blogger since 2007. This is my personal blog and I welcome you to the site. In full disclosure, it is safe to assume that I am benefiting financially or otherwise from everything you click on, read, or look at while on my website.
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  • http://www.mezzi.com/ Aluminum Cases

    While it is best to play it safe, lawyers are rarely going to sue without warning. Usually they will give you time to fix the problem first. I guess if your blog is full of copyrighted content, this may be quite a headache.

    • http://www.zacjohnson.com Zac Johnson

      That is usually the case, but when it comes to copyright and if they have a registered trademark, they are usually suing for damages and not just a warning. (ie: published articles with trademarks)

  • http://www.jaysonlinereviews.com Jason

    Good post Zac that is why I do everything myself and that is why I do not do autoblogging personally all it takes is one article that your not supposed to publish to get you in some big trouble. And the image site I make sure I go the free ones where I will not run into any problems and if you do just remove it and usually the problem is solved but just make sure they are not copyrighted!
    My recent post Internet Marketing Home Study Crash Course Review

    • http://www.zacjohnson.com Zac Johnson

      Lots of good 100% free image sources out there. I don't mind paying a buck or two for images from the ones I mentioned in the article, as it's quick and easy to find the type of images I'm looking for. You can also try http://www.morguefile.com/ and http://sxc.hu/ for completely free images.

  • http://www.zacjohnson.com Zac Johnson

    Definitely. Can't go wrong with having everything be 100% unique.

  • http://www.zacjohnson.com Zac Johnson

    Right, what you don't know CAN hurt you. Especially when it comes to online / blogging practices.

  • http://twitter.com/ThaoTT @ThaoTT

    Flickr is a good one too. You just have to make sure that the ones you get are not copyrighted.
    My recent post The Party Never Stops At Affiliate Summit West 2011

  • http://www.boldbodyfitness.com/ p90x

    I like to use sites that have free public domain images. istockphoto is another great choice with a ton of images. But if your looking for a free option the two you mentioned ( morguefile.com and sxc.hu ) are what I use frequently.

    – Robert
    My recent post Day 27 P90x Workout

  • http://motorcycleinsights.com/ VFRDude369

    What if you blogging and promoting a brand new motorcycle. Would you still ask each company? I see images all over the internet used straight from the companies website of the latest or past motorcycles.

    • http://www.zacjohnson.com Zac Johnson

      In many cases most products and companies won't care, but some will take action against anything. You never really know. A good way to find out is to do research and see how many other sites/domains exist on the same topic. Simply blogging about a specific product, service or company will usually not cause any problems.

    • http://www.zacjohnson.com Zac Johnson

      You should be safe in this area. Stick with company images and not independent or copyright photos.

  • http://twitter.com/BradNordstrom @BradNordstrom

    Thanks for telling me about getting sued as a blogger.I definetly do not want to be sued. :(

    Thanks,
    Bradley Nordstrom
    My recent post How To Remove Mac Apps From Your Dock

  • Angelique

    huge thanks for all the informations. very informative!

  • http://www.oxzenmedia.com/search-engine-optimization.php Whitehat Seo

    Absolutely you are right! Now everything on the internet is not for free to grab, post on your web site or blog,or do what you want..,there are some sites that you need to pay first before you can submit or comment.
    Thank you for providing this tips, it is a big help for me to improve my blog.

  • http://motorcycleinsights.com/ VFRDude369

    Thanks for the reply! I'm doing this blog somewhat blind and it's always nice to have a little help.

  • http://devingredients.com Catalin

    It's why I prefer writing everything myself and doing my own graphics :)

    • http://www.selfassistrail.com/ p90x

      I think that is the best approach Catalin. I too write everything myself that needs written. And I also do my own graphics, although I am not great at them I know they are mine.

      – Robert
      My recent post Day 27 P90x Workout

  • http://www.best-mobile-contracts.co.uk Thomas

    Those are three very easy ways to get sued, yes. It's surprising how many people assume Google Images is a directory of copyright free pictures…Good job on spreading a bit of awareness!

  • http://goodguyspowersports.com baby center

    You could say that again Thomas, I know some who got pinned hard.

  • elisha

    that's a wonderful post , Am looking forward to learn more from you zac i visit your blog every week to see i have good information to help me as an affiliate.
    My recent post Boosting Your Profits with the Ideal WordPress Theme

  • Cashmere Lashkari

    That title sure got my attention! Yes it is very important to keep abreast of what material goes on to your blog, be it content in terms of visuals or words.

  • http://www.superiorpromos.com Pablo Edwards

    yeah… definitely not what you want to do!

  • http://starapplet.com High Definition

    This might be applicable to those bloggers & servers hosted inside US & Canada. But not entirely applicable to those in other countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. Internet laws in these regions are still not very strict.
    My recent post Netflix expands outside US &amp CANADA – ready for Europe UK- Latin America and Asia

  • http://tricia.me TriciaMeyer

    As both a blogger and a lawyer, I really appreciate this article. I think too often people start up a blog without any thought to issues like this. They either play the odds that they won't get caught or just genuinely have no idea that these things are even actionable at law. Thanks for the reminder!

  • http://OurDevelopingMind.com Marco Lee

    Are "auto blogs" the ones who gets copies or excerpts of different articles around the net and compile them as to create a new article? Or are they the ones who gets excerpts of the original ones, but still links back to them?

    Well if they are, I've seen many tried to do them with my posts. I've reported them to google but I think it took them months or maybe they haven't really delved upon them. (Cause they are still on the search results)

    Oh well, won't really sue them. Don't care lol as long as I'm on the top of the results. :)
    My recent post Fighting WordPress Spam Comments

  • http://www.weightlosstriumph.com Matthew

    Hi Zac,

    I landed on your site after Googling: "affiliate marketer sued".

    I would like to thank you for answering my questions. Does anybody know of a case where a blogger was sued. What happened? Did he have to pay a fine? What is the entity that imposes the fine?

  • http://www.internetmarketingconsulting.in/ internet marketing

    I've reported them to google.I think it took still search .

  • http://garbagedisposal-reviews.com Daniel

    I almost got sued once because of the picture i put on my site. I got it from google images. I got an email from their lawyer to remove picture or i will get sued. i removed and they left me alone. :)
    My recent post InSinkErator Evolution Excel 1.0 HP

  • http://affiliatenetworkscout.com/blam-ads-reviews Blam Ads

    the bad thing though is that not everybody is in united states and sometimes people in the cyber world take actions slower. i think the people around the globe should create a one unified law to protect everybody's intellectual rights. just my thought though.
    My recent post CX Digital Reviews

  • http://diabeticdietcorner.com cahyo

    if i needed image to support my article, how can i get it without getting worried about being sued one day? do i have to make my own image?
    My recent post Exercise for Diabetics