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Three Excellent Ways to Get Sued as a Blogger

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.

About the Author 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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Aluminum Cases says

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.

    Zac Johnson says

    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)

Jason says

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!
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    Zac Johnson says

    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.

Zac Johnson says

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

Zac Johnson says

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

@ThaoTT says

Flickr is a good one too. You just have to make sure that the ones you get are not copyrighted.
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p90x says

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

VFRDude369 says

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.

    Zac Johnson says

    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.

    Zac Johnson says

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

@BradNordstrom says

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

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

Angelique says

huge thanks for all the informations. very informative!

Whitehat Seo says

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.

VFRDude369 says

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

Catalin says

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

    p90x says

    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

Thomas says

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!

baby center says

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

elisha says

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.
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Cashmere Lashkari says

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.

Pablo Edwards says

yeah… definitely not what you want to do!

High Definition says

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.
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TriciaMeyer says

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!

Marco Lee says

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. 🙂
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Matthew says

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?

internet marketing says

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

Daniel says

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. 🙂
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Blam Ads says

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.
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cahyo says

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?
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