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Legal risks in blogging?

Computerworld reports that as corporate weblogs have multiplied, a number of legal issues have arisen including:

  • Libel and trade libel.
  • Disclosure of trade secrets or confidential information.
  • Careless statements about the business that can be used during litigation.

Take a look at the suggested precautions and learn how to participate in a blog roundtable of lawyers discussing the issues.

Suggested precautions for such hazards:

  • On libel, do your homework. If the blogger is going to make negative statements about a company’s or individual’s business activities, Carr says, “he’s really got to do his research and make sure what he’s saying can be proven to be true and not just believed to be true.”
  • On disclosure of trade secrets, have employees sign a confidentiality agreement that states they will not disclose company confidential information, says employment attorney Michael Karpeles, a principal at Chicago-based law firm Goldberg, Kohn, Bell, Black, Rosenbloom & Moritz Ltd. “Even if they haven’t signed an agreement, most states have a trade-secrets protection law that would prohibit individuals from misappropriating trade secrets,” he says. But better to caution them upfront than prosecute them later.
  • On the subject of careless statements, companies that have their own blogs should consider how they fit into the business plan, and they should craft policies to let employees know what they can and can’t write, says Gregory Rutchik, founding partner of The Arts and Technology Group, a litigation and transactional law practice in San Francisco.

Steve Rubel, a PR professional in New York City and publisher of Micropersuasion is pulling together a blog roundtable of esteemed attorneys who will help answer questions on critical legal issues related to corporate blogging, including Sarbanes Oxley. If you’re a lawyer who would like to participate in this Q&A, please email Steve.

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