Blog, Freedom Of Expression, Intellectual Property And Copyright: What Trends?

One of the certain advantages of the Internet and the blogosphere is the spirit of openness, freedom of expression and frankness that reign there. Finally, that’s what a lot of people think. Some recent events have upset this general belief that anything is possible online. 

Can we say anything? Are we freer than in real life? No, absolutely not. 

We are responsible for our actions and we must be held accountable for our actions both online and offline. Even if sometimes we do not understand very well why. In this context, I offer you a small review of recent events that will tell you that you must be attentive, but also a guide to bad practices to avoid unpleasant surprises.

Trademarks

As incredible as it may be, you can’t use a word that has been trademarked as you wish. A striking example is the common name used to refer to a small foot-powered boat (you know what I mean). Tour operators and tour operators can never reproduce this word in their brochures, and obviously not on their sites either if we believe this post. comments are very informative.

Even more incredible, the very recent case of the use of the word “entrepreneurs” by MrBoo, founder of HelloTipi, and Mathilde. He used the word, which is also commonly used in the blogosphere and elsewhere, in regular non-profit meetings for more than a year. A domain name containing the word is also online. It turns out that someone registered this name as a trademark in December 2006… And now demands a 15,000 euro fine.

Let’s add the famous Speed-Dating case a few months ago, and you will understand that the Internet is not a place of lawlessness, quite the contrary. The question therefore arises: what place should be given to freedom of expression if even the use of words derived from common language is prohibited and liable to damages of several thousand euros? If cases of this kind remain uncommon, it is worth paying attention to our vocabulary and the use made of trademarks (and especially logos) as part of not being clear and accurate about this on blogging ink risks.

Defamation

To continue with this famous freedom of expression, know that the line between criticism and defamation can sometimes be thin. Just because the web is virtual doesn’t mean that the words we make about it don’t have any real significance. So be careful not to ignite and go too far in comments or posts. Indeed, the writings remain, especially on the Internet.

The case of the DatingWatch blog speaks for itself. This observatory of dating sites published an investigation questioning the practices of such a site. After trial, the two bloggers were ordered to pay a symbolic euro of damages and interest (130,000 euros were requested), but also to pay 8500 euros in legal fees. They also appeal for donations on their blog to pay this amount.

Your comments, if they are not proven or sufficiently argued, may result in a court summons. So be careful not to slip. It will always be better to hold back in doubt.

Copyright

This is probably the most common drift on the Internet. Copyright is far from being respected by all, yet it is a most important concept. Music, photos, texts… Everything you place on your blog is subject to copyright. For the example of music, it is therefore important to use a legal player (to my knowledge there is only one, Deezer…), or broadcast music free of rights thanks for example to Jamendo.

The Intellectual Property Code is clear and precise on the definition of copyright and on the risks involved: “Any full or partial representation or reproduction, translation, adaptation, transformation, arrangement of a work made without the consent of the author or its rights holders (heirs and copyright holders such as publishers and producers, copyright management companies) is illegal (Article L122-4 of the ICC). Making a work available to the public via the Internet requires the permission of its author or rights holders. A person who reproduces a work on an Internet server without the author’s permission to make it available to the public commits an act of infringement (Articles L 335-2 and L 716-9 of the ICC). Counterfeiting is a civil offence (punishable by damages) and a criminal offence (punishable by two years’ imprisonment and a fine of 150,000 euros). Counterfeiting covers all illegal reproductions and distributions, i.e. unauthorized.”

Exceptions that are likely to be of interest to bloggers include short quotations “subject to clearly stated author’s name and source, analyses and short quotations justified by the critical, polemical, pedagogical, scientific or informational nature of the work to which they are incorporated”, press reviews, works in the public domain and caricatures and parodies.

In the end, publish copying/pasting press articles or other sites, placing photos without the permission of their authors and any such practices should be avoided. Creative Commons contracts work differently. If you will be free to reproduce the works placed under this license, certain rules must be respected.

Conclusion

The Internet has made it easier to speak.

Everyone can now express themselves according to their desires.

However, the web is not an area of non-rights and rules must be respected, especially in terms of copyrights, trademarks and defamation. Beware, your actions can be fraught with consequences. If there is a legal vacuum or blur in some areas, it is better not to play with fire, the fallout can be very negative.

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