The ‘Boring’ Side of Blogging | A Brief Intro to Media Law

Hello everyone!
The world of blogging seems exciting and intriguing. At first glance it seems like an easy way to express yourself and share the things you love. When I started my blog, I was also studying media law as part of my journalism degree and it opened my eyes to the restrictions involved with posting anything online. It can be a bit daunting having all of the laws thrown on you at once and will leave you thinking that you can’t post anything online without getting sued but here is a low down of the basics you need to know when blogging.
You’ve probably all heard of copyright but maybe don’t know what it actually entails. Basically, copyright covers anything from protected photos to protected written pieces or recordings. This means that if you’re reviewing a product or writing about anything and want to use someone else’s images or videos, you have to be very careful. In terms of products, it’s always best to use your own images as it makes the post seem more reliable as the audience will see that you’ve actually got the product. When reviewing a person or group, be it celebrity or otherwise, you have to remember that the copyright of the photo always belongs to the photographer. Often with big celebrities, they don’t really bother too much with taking small bloggers to court over use of photos and such but it is something to consider when using other peoples images.
Defamation is when you say something about someone or a company that isn’t in their favour. It is defamatory when it can make a reasonable reader:
  1. think less of the individual/company mentioned, 
  2. thing the individual/company is incapable of their job, trade or profession, 
  3. avoid or shun the individual/company
  4. make the individual/company become a thing of ridicule or a joke.
If you write something unsavoury about someone then it can come back and bite you. This doesn’t mean you can’t write an honest review about a company or person, but just be careful in the way you go about it. If you’re just writing insults then it will get you into trouble, but form it in a constructive manner. Honest opinion is a defence in defamation and one that us bloggers can use to our advantage. If we genuinely feel that way about someone and feel the public need to know, then go for it.
You may have seen that vloggers now have to state whether they are getting paid to include products etc in their videos. This has been ruled by the Advertising Standards Authority and does apply to bloggers too. If a company is paying you to include or review a product, it’s best to mention it. Not only will this comply with the rules but it also lets your audience know that you’re honest and open with the content on your blog.
Now this was only a brief introduction to the laws involved but hopefully it has not put you off!! Freedom of speech is a beautiful thing and these laws are just there to help us on our way. Yes, it may seem boring but it’s actually really interesting when you properly look into it… to me anyway.   

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If you want to know any more about it, there are countless articles online and books available too.
Oodles of love…

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