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February 11, 2012

Bloggers' Rights from EFF!

Bloggers can be journalists (and journalists can be bloggers).

One of EFF's goals is to give you a basic roadmap to the legal issues you may confront as a blogger to let you know you have rights and to encourage you to blog freely with the knowledge that your legitimate speech is protected.

To that end we have created the Legal Guide for Bloggers a collection of blogger-specific FAQs addressing everything from fair use to defamation law to workplace whistle-blowing.

In addition EFF continues to battle for bloggers' rights in the courtroom:

Bloggers can be journalists (and journalists can be bloggers).We're battling for legal and institutional recognition that if you engage in journalism you're a journalist with all of the attendant rights privileges and protections. (See Apple v. Does.)

Bloggers are entitled to free speech. We're working to shield you from frivolous or abusive threats and lawsuits. Internet bullies shouldn't use copyright libel or other claims tochill your legitimate speech. (See OPG v. Diebold.)
Bloggers have the right to political speech. We're working with a number of other public-interest organizations to ensure that the Federal Election Commission (FEC) doesn't gag bloggers' election-related speech. We argue that the FEC should adopt a presumption against the regulation of election-related speech by individuals on the Internet and interpret the existing media exemption to apply to online media outlets that provide news reporting and commentary regarding an election -- including blogs. (See our joint comments to the FEC [PDF 332K].)

Bloggers have the right to stay anonymous. We're continuing our battle to protect and preserve your constitutional right to anonymous speech online including providing a guide to help you with strategies for keeping your identity private when you blog. (See How to Blog Safely (About Work or Anything Else).)

Bloggers have freedom from liability for hosting speech the same way other web hosts do. We're working to strengthen Section 230 liability protections under the Communications Decency Act (CDA) while spreading the word that bloggers are entitled to them. (See Barrett v. Rosenthal.)

If you'd like to spread the word about our work consider adding an EFF Bloggers' Rights Badgeto your blog or website.

1. Bloggers have the right to post about any topic their heart desires. There shall be no law passed that prohibits any topic (including dirty ones) as long as excessive caps are not used.

2. Bloggers may fight spam by any means necessary including a well-regulated militia (Akismet) or even throwing rocks.

3. At any time, Bloggers are permitted to leave their original blogger or homes to pursue their god-given right of spending hours trying to transfer their blog to their own host and domain name.
4. Bloggers have the right to conduct as many unreasonable Google searches as they want to see how they rank with specific keywords.

5. No blogger shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except by Google. Basically Google can take away your pagerank or suspend your Adsense account whenever they please and for whatever reason they deem necessary.

6. All bloggers will be immediately forgiven for pointless ranting and raving so long as it does not exceed three consecutive posts.

7. Bloggers are permitted to have three cases of writers block per year in which they post nothing or utter nonsense.

8. No blogger is allowed to be subjected again to dialup, as it is considered cruel and unusual punishment.

9. Bloggers have the right to sell out and add as many advertisements to their blog as they want–as long as their blog is at least 3 months old. If you ignore the 3 month rule, amendment 8 is immediately suspended.

10. All bloggers are responsible to Stumble, Digg, Reddit, or whatever this Bill of Rights.
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