Blogs often feature disclaimers designed to stave off any legal action. That’s not the worst idea in the world, but you can’t automatically fall back on the presence of a disclaimer if the rest of the blog appears to ignore its existence entirely.
Picture by Colin Purrington
In the same presentation at WordCamp Melbourne where she examined the job risks of using Twitter, lawyer Alex Farrar pointed out that a disclaimer won’t be much help if what you actually write is clearly at odds with the disclaimer itself:
It depends on the nature of the disclaimer and the nature of the blog. People often feel protected by having a disclaimer, but there is a real issue as to whether it conveys any more than the intention of the parties involved.
Farrar gave the example of a blog which professes to represent only the opinion of an individual, but which then quotes extensively from others. If someone objected to seeing their content reproduced in that way, the content of the blog would tend to undermine the claim made by the disclaimer that it was individual opinion.
As ever, a little common sense goes a long way. What you do in your own time is your own affair, but if you identify yourself as working for a particular company, don’t be surprised if that company isn’t too happy if the content of your blog should prove controversial.