Jump to content

Cre8asiteforums Internet Marketing
and Conversion Web Design


Photo

Blog content liability


  • Please log in to reply
10 replies to this topic

#1 stinhambo

stinhambo

    Gravity Master Member

  • Members
  • 142 posts

Posted 10 July 2006 - 03:24 AM

Hi there everyone!

I am in the process of expanding my site to include a blog which will provide articles such as 7 steps to a successful interview and such like. The blog will cover a wide range of subjects to do with employment in Australia. This covers topics such as interview techniques, temp agencies, promotion secrets and then run a series of relevant ebooks or resources from the articles.

The question is, am I covered legally if I put a disclaimer saying that this is not professional advice and we do not guarantee a positive outcome from anything we write?

I am worried that some fool will think that what I write is 100% guaranteed to work and could misconstrue it as professional advice and make us open to a lawsuit.

#2 EGOL

EGOL

    Professor

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 5417 posts

Posted 10 July 2006 - 06:57 AM

I think that you need to ask about this in regard to your profession and in your own state/country.

I have a website where I write on a variety of topics. I have a license to practice in that discipline in my home state. If I charge money for advice or reports then I am liable for damages claimed by my paying clients. If I give advice for free then I have very limited liability.

Anyone who charges for advice in my field in my state must have a license or they will be subject to penalties which could include fines, loss of an ability to attain license or even jail. The law is less clear for advice given for free by the unlicensed.

As I understand it I can put any disclaimer on any written product that I produced - but no disclaimer can be contrary to law.

#3 A.N.Onym

A.N.Onym

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Invited Users For Labs
  • 4003 posts

Posted 10 July 2006 - 07:02 AM

Well, that'd be something, at least, and I've seen similar disclaimers a lot.

Anyway, the disclaimer is aimed, becides covering your back, to let your readers know that they need to think on their own anyway.

If you make the disclaimer visible, I don't there should be issues. However, making it too visible may scare your reaers as well.
Maybe medium-sized font text at the footer will do?

I've seen a lot backup-statements like these:
"The materal is not a professional advice and is provided for educational purposes only"
You can write something like this to make it more sensible:
"The responsibility on doing anything, taking this advice into account or ignoring it, lies on you and on you only."

That being said, I am not a lawyer nor have had this issue researched, but I think that there shouldn't be too much problems with people suing you. Generally, the folks understand that the material available for free comes without any guarantee for success.

Hope that made some sense and someone with some actual experience with this may share his knowledge, too.

#4 stinhambo

stinhambo

    Gravity Master Member

  • Members
  • 142 posts

Posted 10 July 2006 - 08:21 AM

Well I'm actually surprised there isn't more information about this available.

Perhaps it's because it's not a big issue?

Anyway, I think a disclaimer would be fine and if the person who read the article tried to sue me I think I could reasonably argue that seeing that the disclaimer was as clear as the article, I would throw doubt that the article was read properly and therefore was not acted upon as intended (didn't read the instructions!!)

Thanks for the feedback and I hope for some more on this.

#5 cre8pc

cre8pc

    Dream Catcher Forums Founder

  • Admin - Top Level
  • 13527 posts

Posted 10 July 2006 - 09:45 AM

Related...you may want to look into:

Creative Commons

“With a Creative Commons license, you keep your copyright but allow people to copy and distribute your work provided they give you credit -- and only on the conditions you specify”



#6 bragadocchio

bragadocchio

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 15634 posts

Posted 10 July 2006 - 10:54 AM

The question is, am I covered legally if I put a disclaimer saying that this is not professional advice and we do not guarantee a positive outcome from anything we write?


The subject of disclaimers comes up early in law school torts classes, where different civil wrongs are discussed. Is there a point to having a disclaimer? What legal effect does a disclaimer have? Can it sheild someone from civil liability? How effective is a disclaimer?

Should jars of peanut butter have disclaimers on them stating that peanut butter may stick to the root of your mouth?

This was an actual question asked by my torts professor during law school. He then went on to tell us that more than one law suit was originated by the parents of very young children who choked to death while being feed peanut butter.

Disclaimers won't stop you from being liable when you do something that may be construed as a civil wrong, such as defamation, or civil negligance, or fraud, or others that may exist in your jurisdiction.

But they do have some value - they may let people know that they should proceed with care. If a lawsuit does come about, the existence of a disclaimer may be somewhat helpful, especially if it is written in plain english, and is clearly visible. It's not really a sheild against liability, but it can be proof that a person acting, or writing, or supplying advice is also cautioning the person who may read something that they should think for themselves, and apply reasonable standards and due diligence to any advice that they receive and may act upon.

People should know that when they read a blog, that what they are receiving is the opinion of the writer. It's advice freely given, but the taking of that advice, and its application should be done with reasonableness. This should come across in the disclaimer, but it might not be a bad idea to present material posted in a blog post, or article, or interview with some cautions - even a simple note that circumstances may be different for some people.

The same is true with forum posts. :D

#7 manager

manager

    Time Traveler Member

  • 1000 Post Club
  • 1331 posts

Posted 10 July 2006 - 11:30 AM

Perhaps it's because it's not a big issue?

I think this is an important subject

If the disclaimers are too prominent, could cause credibility problems.
For example: if someone goes out of his or her way, to tell me not to rely on the information I’m about to read, then sometimes I may not bother to read it.

Could I sue someone who sold me a “get rich quick book”, if I followed the advice and didn’t get rich, quickly or otherwise?

Just my thoughts on the subject :)

TreV

#8 Ruud

Ruud

    Hall of Fame

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 4887 posts

Posted 10 July 2006 - 11:32 AM

Plain English makes sense -- and visible. Not some fine print in a small font under the copyright notice.

I take that from a couple of alternative health sites I've worked on. Each statement, each claim had a note-marker next to it and at the bottom of the page a clearly visible note "These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. These products are not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease."

#9 Respree

Respree

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 5901 posts

Posted 10 July 2006 - 11:52 AM

I can think of nothing that can prevent you from being sued.

McDonald's has been sued by a customer who burnt his mouth on hot coffee.

Fast food chains have been sued by a customer who didn't know eating 10 Whoppers a day would make him obese.

If you live long enough, you see'll see everything.

While I don't have a legal background, it seems to me that if a case ever were to go to court, your best defense is a prominentaly display, well written and thought out disclaimer. I think it will come down to, "Did you adequately warn the visitor of the risks (of taking the advice given)?"

#10 stinhambo

stinhambo

    Gravity Master Member

  • Members
  • 142 posts

Posted 10 July 2006 - 08:02 PM

Cool!

Yes of course there is nothing to stop someone sueing another.

Hope this topic helped others and sparked a bit of thought!

#11 bragadocchio

bragadocchio

    Honored One Who Served Moderator Alumni

  • Hall Of Fame
  • 15634 posts

Posted 10 July 2006 - 08:14 PM

I think this is an important subject

If the disclaimers are too prominent, could cause credibility problems.
For example: if someone goes out of his or her way, to tell me not to rely on the information I’m about to read, then sometimes I may not bother to read it.



I think your right in that you don't want to look like you are trying to hide something or con someone. Whatever disclaimer that is used should be in plain language, reasonable, and responsible sounding.

Could I sue someone who sold me a “get rich quick book”, if I followed the advice and didn’t get rich, quickly or otherwise?


Sure. Even if they did have disclaimers. It might be difficult to succeed, but that's a possibility - your chance of success is more likely if you can convince the finder of fact that some level of fraud is happening.



RSS Feed

0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users