Personal perspectives on information science, the evolving Internet, delivery of public services online, Web 2.0, the Web of Data, the Semantic Web, communities, folksonomies and more. With an emphasis upon convergence between some or all of the above, and a UK slant.
Everyone in the room received quite a weighty hand-out, including Fenwick & West's recommended model policy for blogging. This draft policy doesn't appear to be available online (Shawna/Matt - anything we could do about that?), but I may talk about it in more detail later on.
Part of the point of the session was to explore the legal issues around running or facilitating blogs associated with organisations, and the difficulties in fitting their rapid and informal nature into the usual (weighty!) approval and PR processes. Notionally 'personal' blogs presumably complicate issues still further. A posting of mine topanlibusmight clearly be considered 'corporate'. What about a posting of mine tothisblog? It'smyblog. I pay for it. But I talk about work-related issues, and I post on work time.
According to Matt, they reckon that around 50 individuals have been 'terminated' (which seems somehow different from 'sacked'?) for reasons directly associated to their posting on a blog. Scary, but I wonder how many of those 50 would be considerednotto have contravened either Fenwick & West's model policy, or even more permissive policies such as Talis' “be sensible” ?
There was some discussion around the steps that a company should take to police blogs that they might, legally, be considered to be wholly or partially liable for. Broadly, this policing could be considered to be either after-the-factmonitoringor pre-postpreviewing. Previewing appears to be problematic, as it slows down posting, raises the spectre of censorship and, perhaps worse, creates a legal view that the company hasendorsedany post that does end up on the blog. Active after-the-fact monitoring every day or so, however, is safer, and it would be legally defensible if a company were taken to court for some posting to a blog to point out that this post (perhaps made at 0200 one morning) was removed within a reasonable time frame when the blog was monitored the next day.
I asked about passive policing (simply providing a link whereby an offendedreadercould complain about content), but Shawna suggested that harassment etc legislation would require active rather than passive action. That seems unreasonable to me (but then, the law often does). I wonder if the same is true in Europe?
And, as it's a session about legal things, I should probably say that I'm not a lawyer, and that any interpretation of Matt and Shawna's contributions is only my own interpretation, not legal advice!