this cannot, that cannot, how to blog?


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following the news of the 6 bloggers being charged for insulting the sultan, an eLawyer law conference 2009 themed ‘Blogging and Law’ was held on saturday. (or go to the lawyer’s site if NST news expire).

from what the lawyers had said there, it seems to me that i would have broken so many laws when blogging!

for the simple fact of posting a youtube video on my blog, it is consider ‘infringing copyright law’. huh? really? not only did i did it most of the time but almost all bloggers also did. you visit any blogs, most of the time you see a youtube video posted on the blogs and the bloggers never mentioned from where the video came or who made the video.

from the NST article, ‘blog with care‘ (which i will provide the full article at the end of the post), according to lawyer  foong cheng leong, if you post a youtube video:

"You would have infringed copyright laws as you have reproduced material without consent"

sounds crazy to me. youtube videos are all over the net and anyone can take them and simply post them on their blogs or website – do we need to find out who the video belongs to and write to him/her for permission to use it? the video that appears on youtube does have the name of those who made the video but not necessary have their contacts. and i believe once someone posted up his/her video up on youtube, s/he wants people to use it! to pass it around! to post up on blog!

If an image is taken of a website and posted on a blog, said Foong, the defence of fair dealing would be available if the website was credited to the proper owner.

well this i understand; that’s why i usually credit the image i put up on my blog, though at times i forgot or thought not necessary so. i find out though most bloggers didn’t! even famous bloggers like zorro, who have lots of images up – he never mentioned where he got those images from. maverick from cakap tak serupa bikin also is one of them who didn’t mention where he get the image from. i remember once i like an image he put up on his blog and wanted to copy it to put on my blog BUT before i did that, i asked him where he get the image from but he said he didn’t know, he had forgotten! this means at the time of posting it up, he already didn’t bother to credit the image.

What if you link your blog to a website that contains defama-tory information or images?

The courts, said Nizam, had held that it was fine if the link just contains the name of the site as opposed to its uniform resource locator.

well i did that several times before but of course each time i did it, i put in the link. i don’t quite understand the above. ‘link of the name of the site’ means  i’ll have to put in the URL but it why nizam said "as opposed to tis URL"?

Are you still liable for defamation if you use someone’s name in your blog , and in brackets, explain that it is just an example?

"Even if the comments were humorous, parties have still taken matters like this to court. It would depend on the context of the information. Brackets might not necessarily work on all occasions."

hmm… i did that before too. so i shouldn’t do it now eh as it is still consider defamatory?

If there is a defamatory comment on a blog but the blogger subsequently removes it, is he still liable?

"Yes. It will only help in the mitigation of sentencing. There is freedom on the Net, but there must also be responsibility."

kind of silly, i see. yes, true responsibility comes with freedom on the net but why should i be responsible for comments made by others… and especially after i remove the comments. so if another person made a defamatory comment in my blog and i leave it be, i will be charged and not the person who made the comment? how so? then these 6 persons who were charged for making insulting comments against the sultan, why wasn’t the sultan’s guestbook/site webmaster being charged instead of the 6 persons who made the comments?

this was brought up by susan loone. she mentioned that she remember when jeff ooi was hauled up by the multimedia act  long time ago, it was due to a comment somebody made at his blog for insulting islam. so then why isn’t the ownder of the sultan’s official website hauled up too, instead of these 6 people.

of course many had said that these 6 were merely being made scapegoats. why, i’m sure there are more than 6… hundreds yes, of people who made insulting comments on the sultan’s website – why these 6 were specially picked? i think someone simply eenie menie minor mo to choose these 6!

when susan mentioned about insulting god and everybody did that, i agree. i also totally agree that she said life would be boring without you being insulted or you insulting people. this had made me curious what did those 6 said in their comments that they had to be picked up to be charged. i brows around and i only found out what one of the commenter said – the handphone salesman. what he posted was simply "sultan sudah gila" (the sultan is mad). ayoh! like that also get charged, see. i’m sure there were more defamatory remarks than ‘the sultan is mad’ at the website.

to sidetrack, again this bring to mind, karpal’s ‘celaka’ remark. ‘gila’ to most of us is not defamatory. just like ‘celaka’ i and my friends uses it ALL the time. "gila ah you!" "don’t be gila lah!" "he’s gila already, see" – these were some of the remarks we always made.

yes i does look like these 6 were just unfortunate to be made scapegoats. i’m curious on what the other 5 commented on, especially the lab assistant, the one and only one who pleaded guilty.

oops! what did these lawyers at the conference said eh. cannot use a defamatory comment on my blog but think it’s ok when i link it to the person/site that made the comment? aduh! but i already mentioned above ‘sultan is mad’. oh dear me…. wait… let me find the link where that was mentioned…. oh but what lah did the lawyers said?… still with link, liable to be hauled up? er…. headache!  what’s a blogger suppose to do??

ok lah better do it –  the remark ‘the sutlan is mad’ came from the new straits times report. there! the name of the site. no need to give the URL eh? but the URL is in the name of the site already! oops! another headache. in a few days time that report from NST will be gone.. so what? should i take a screenshot of the report, highlighting that defamatory part? see, the perils a blogger is in. ok lah, i’d better CnP the whole report then. here it is:

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NST Online » Frontpage
2009/03/13
Salesman pleads not guilty to insulting Perak sultan

KOTA KINABALU, Fri:

A MOBILE phone salesman today pleaded not guilty to spreading a comment which insulted the Sultan of Perak, Sultan Azlan Shah, on a website.
Rutinin Suhaimin, 36, was charged under Section 233(1)(9) of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 (Act 588), with committing the offence at Block A, Lot 4, Kedai Sedco, Kundasang in Ranau, on Feb 13 at 6.33pm.

He is alleged to have knowingly made and posted a comment: "Sultan sudah gila!!!" (Sultan is mad!!!) on the website http://books.dreambooks.com/duliduli.html which is linked to ww.sultanperak.gov.my.

If found guilty, Rutinin can be jailed for up to a year or fined up to RM50,000, or both.

Sessions Court judge Ummu Kalthom Abdul Samad fixed May 25 and 26 for trial and allowed bail of RM10,000 with a deposit RM5,000 and two sureties.
DPP Salim Soib appeared for the prosecution while Rutinin was represented by lawyer Muammar Julkarnain. — BERNAMA

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and here is the article regarding the lawyers’ conference:

 

Blog with care, says lawyers

KUALA LUMPUR: You create a fake Facebook profile about your friend or foe, can you get away with it? No.

Someone takes an unflattering photograph of you and posts it on his blog. Can you do anything about it?

Apparently not.

These were among the clarifications given yesterday at a question-and-answer session at the eLawyer Law Conference 2009 themed "Blogging and Law" yesterday.

For unflattering photographs, intellectual property lawyer Foong Cheng Leong said: "So long as it is that person who has taken the photo of you, he has the copyright to it. Unfortunately, even if that photograph is not that nice."
What about taking a video from YouTube and posting it on your blog?

"You would have infringed copyright laws as you have reproduced material without consent," he said.

What if someone posts an unfavourable comment about a minister on your blog but you reply to the post saying the comment is inappropriate. Are you liable?

"Yes. Your response will help only in the mitigation of your sentencing or damages against you."

On copyright, Foong said if you drew a caricature and commissioned someone else to do illustrations for your blog, you would own the copyright to the caricature and illustrations.

"Even if you paid the person just RM1 or RM2 to do it."

If an image is taken of a website and posted on a blog, said Foong, the defence of fair dealing would be available if the website was credited to the proper owner.

On the fake Facebook profile, lawyer Nizam Bashir Abdul Kariem Bashir said the person responsible would be liable for defamation.

"The strongest defence for defamation is justification. If you express an opinion and the facts are reasonably accurate and it is published in the interest of the public, then it is acceptable," said Nizam

What if you link your blog to a website that contains defama-tory information or images?

The courts, said Nizam, had held that it was fine if the link just contains the name of the site as opposed to its uniform resource locator.

Are you still liable for defamation if you use someone’s name in your blog , and in brackets, explain that it is just an example?

"Even if the comments were humorous, parties have still taken matters like this to court. It would depend on the context of the information. Brackets might not necessarily work on all occasions."

Nizam said it was defamation if a blogger’s writing injures the reputation of another person.

"How much damages you get would depend on how much your reputation is worth. There is also innuendo, where someone reading the comments would jump to the conclusion that the person being written about is you.

"This will allow you to bring a suit against the person who wrote the comments although you were not named.

If I say that there was this person who was allegedly speaking to the chief justice on the phone, you would immediately know who I am speaking about," said Nizam.

If there is a defamatory comment on a blog but the blogger subsequently removes it, is he still liable?

"Yes. It will only help in the mitigation of sentencing. There is freedom on the Net, but there must also be responsibility."

UPDATED:  this post was picked up by malaysia today and posted at its website.

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