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Codes of Conduct and Libel Laws

Nice to see Mr. VoIP Watch Andy Abramson weigh in on this blogging Codes of Conduct crap. Reading his post and the Mark Evans post he linked to reminded me of a thought I had not too long ago. Let me quote from Mark Evans blog for a moment:

One angle I’d like to throw into this Code of Conduct discussion is my belief that the blogosphere will become more of a target for libel as blogs become increasingly part of the mainstream media.

I would take this one step further: bloggers will become a target for libel. As I understand the libel laws in the US, they are slightly different for private individuals versus public figures. Namely, the standards are more stringent for public figures, requiring actual malice versus simply telling a falsehood.

Given that, are bloggers public figures or private individuals? What is the standard for a public figure? Inquiring minds want to know. Either way, we’re going to find out soon enough as I suspect we’ll start seeing a rash of libel lawsuits involving bloggers in the next few years.


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