5 Ways to Avoid Getting Sued for What You Post Online

Being a writer, content creator, photographer, musician, artist, or even a social media manager can be risky business if you don’t abide by the rules. And by rules I mean laws that prevent you from copying or replicating other people’s works without attribution. Here are the top 5 things you should read more about to educate your self and avoid getting slapped with a lawsuit.

Plagiarism: Plagiarism is something you’ve probably heard about since high school when you had to write research papers. As you know, plagiarism is copying large pieces of text without citing a source. This is considered theft since you are essentially stealing an idea which can lead to big legal trouble especially if copyrighted.   With the proliferation of social media and content sharing, the lines have become blurry but that doesn’t mean you can get away with plagiarism.  The folks over at Write to Done have a good article regarding plagiarism and what you need to know to avoid getting sued.

Image Attribution: If you use an image on your blog that you didn’t create yourself, you must give credit to the photographer who owns it in a way that doesn’t seem to suggest endorsement. You must always ask the creator to grant you permission to use his work on your website. You should pay close attention to sharing rights. There are websites that host images that are for public use as long as you attribute credit to the creator. Make sure you have a record of rights to use to avoid issues later. Here is a list of websites that don’t have any rights reserved called CCO images like Pexels.com and Pixabay.com.

Defamation: According to New Media Rights, defamation basically occurs when someone makes a false statement that harms another’s reputation, it’s stated as a fact, and it’s published or communicated to a third person. Defamation can cause great harm to another person especially if what was posted is a lie. This is why you must be careful when you post anything online that has not been proven or verified. If you are feeling emotional or angry about a situation it is best to go for a walk or talk to someone before posting something that could lead to a lawsuit. Make sure you understand that slander is spoken defamation, while libel is written or published defamatory statement

Slander: Slander is a type of defamation that comes in the form of spoken words or gestures. These could be said in speech, a news broadcast or YouTube video. If you are speaking about a public figure, that person is required to prove malice. If you are a slandering a private citizen, that person may have a case since it is a violation of their privacy. Learn the difference and avoid getting caught in a lawsuit.

Libel:  Libel is a type of defamation made in writing that is untrue and you can be sued for. This type of speech is not protected by the First Amendment because they violate others legal rights. The best thing to do if you feel like writing something to hurt another person or business is to speak to a lawyer first before you get yourself in a heap of trouble.

 

Hopefully, this will guide you and help you avoid lawsuits. The lines have blurred, but you can still get in trouble if you don’t do some research.

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