June 23, 2005
EFF's Legal Guide for Bloggers
The EFF has released the wonderful resource “Legal Guide for Bloggers.” It successfully strikes a delicate balance between being comprehensive, accurate and accessible to lay readers. If you’re wondering about the law of blogging, this guide will most likely answer your questions.
Unfortunately, the guide doesn’t address a set of topics on my mind: the relationship between joint bloggers and issues raised by guest bloggers. I expect to see fights over attribution, the blog title/URL, use of postings after the relationship ends, and even who gets the AdSense revenue. Unfortunately, the law in this area is destined to be complex and counterintuitive. Joint bloggers may very well be treated as “partners” under the applicable corporations law, subject to a complex set of statutory defaults. Therefore, it would make a lot of sense for joint bloggers to have a “Joint Blogger Agreement” spelling out their relationship, although I am guessing that virtually no joint bloggers (even lawyers/law professors) have anything of the sort. I have yet to see any models or examples posted online.
Meanwhile, I do plan to say more about the legal issues raised by guest bloggers. Indeed, this summer I plan to draft and enter into a “guest blogger agreement” with John O. I’ll post a copy when I draft it.
I understand why the EFF’s guide doesn’t get into these topics—they are peripheral at best to the EFF’s core objective of encouraging bloggers to exercise their free speech rights. Therefore, even with these omissions, I still heartily recommend that all bloggers read the EFF guide.