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The Internet Government The Courts News

12 Laws Every Blogger Needs to Know 100

Posted by CmdrTaco
from the that-means-you-right dept.
An anonymous reader noted a nice piece discussing 12 laws bloggers need to know which includes explanations of matters including domain name trademarks, deep linking, fair use of thumbnails and so on. It's worth a read for most anyone who puts words on this here interweb.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

12 Laws Every Blogger Needs to Know

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday May 03, 2007 @02:30PM (#18977423)
    As it rips off its list of steps for incorporating directly from nolo.
    • by phalse phace (454635) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @03:00PM (#18977993)
      Really? So it's okay now to post 09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0 ?

      Cool!
      • by russ1337 (938915)

        CONSIDER that moderating your message boards for federal criminal behavior and intellectual property infringements is not just an important way to keep on the right side of the law, it also sets the tone for the type of content that is permissible on your site and will help foster a friendly and collegial environment.


        Ah, feck. By quoting the article I just broke rule number 4.
      • by anothy (83176)
        i know you're aiming for +1 Funny (and i think you hit it), but that's not a copyright violation issue. the argument is that the key is a component of a circumvention device, and therefore distribution violates the DMCA. they're not arguing that the hex number is copyrighted.
        it's still stupid, but let's be clear about the nature of the stupidity.
  • As a blogger (on hiatus) who could be considered "professional" (meaning part of my income comes from my blogging or my business helping businesses blog), I am glad that the anarchy of the blogging market is quickly making many of these laws impossible to enforce. For those who know my opinions, I am anti-copyright, anti-trademark, anti-patent; basic anti-intellectual property of any kind. I believe in real assets that have finite supply, not intellectual assets that can have near infinite supply.

    Here's why most of this is unimportant, based on the sheer volume of blogging and the growth rate it will see from now until forever:

    1. Whether to Disclose Paid Posts

    A blogger who doesn't disclose paid posts will be called out on it and lose their customer base. The FTC should have nothing to do with this -- it happens naturally already.

    2. Is Deep Linking Legal

    The sheer volume of bloggers who deep-link is overwhelming. If someone "catches you" and thinks you are breaking a law, the cost to fight it is excessive. Instead of hitting you with a lawsuit, you'll get a cease and desist, at which point you can remove the link after you've profited from it. Each deep-link probably has a different "owner/author," so let them manage their own inept use of force.

    3. The Legal Use of Images and Thumbnails

    see #2 -- Cease & Desist before lawsuit.

    4. Laws that Protect You From Stolen Content

    Those who try to protect their content from getting "stolen" will find themselves losing market share to those who freely allow re-distribution. All my writings are instantly public domain, because it helps my business by bringing my words to a larger audience. I even allow people to redistribute "as their own" with no reference to me. Why? It still increases the marketbase, and eventually that increases my audience potential. As to the law, see #2 and #3.

    5. Domain Name Trademark Issues

    I rely more on Google, Yahoo and Microsoft searches than on people knowing my domain name. Some of my most profitable blogs have the absolute worst domain names with impossible to remember subdomains. They're popular because of "StumbleUpon" and have good ranking in the search engines. I care little about the domain name, and am just as likely to register gobbledy-gook names.

    6. Handling Private Data About Your Readers

    Simple solution -- keep nothing. I don't need to know anything more about my readers than their IP address (to see if they're returning) and maybe some simple info that their browser gives me info on (operating system, web browser version, etc). The rest is worthless to me, I don't resell data, nor would I want to spend the time doing so.

    7. Who Owns User-Developed Content and Can You Delete It

    Who cares? Like #2, if a user posts something and asks me to delete it (like a cease and desist), I will. Big deal.

    8. The Duty to Monitor Your Blog Comments, and Liability

    Again, if someone has a problem with what I write, or what someone else writes, I'll nuke the problem topic if I feel I am lawsuit-worthy. The cost to go after millions of writers is enormous, and probably worthless.

    9. Basic Tax Law Issues in Blogging

    I received a big 1099-C from three advertisers bases, and tossed it in the pile with my other 1099-C for my accountant. Deal with it. Also keep receipts for EVERYTHING you buy that is blogger-based (laptop, internet connection, web hosting, etc). Offset it.

    10. Limited Liability Laws and Incorporating

    That's semi-ridiculous -- if you do ANYTHING for money, incorporate as a S-corp. Don't do anything on your own, otherwise your tax incentives are lost. I've never been a W9 employee, because it reduces my ability to provide tax write-offs and deductions.

    11. Spam Laws and Which Unsolicited Emails are Legal

    Who uses e-mail anymore? RSS is what matters. Don't e-mail anyone, let them sub
    • by UbuntuDupe (970646) * on Thursday May 03, 2007 @02:43PM (#18977689) Journal
      Who uses e-mail anymore?

      Actually, I do. *please mod interesting, please mod informative*

      On a more serious note:

      I believe in [property rights for] real assets that have finite supply, not intellectual assets that can have near infinite supply.

      This is a subtle but significant leap a lot of people don't notice. (Think Fifth-Axiom-ish.) The information *itself* has infinite supply; the good of excluding people from it, does not. My desire not to have my writings infintiely copied conflicts with your desire to copy them. STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING, GET THAT CURSOR AWAY FROM THE REPLY BUTTON. Note, I didn't say that my (arguably huge) desire justifies enforcement of a right to it; I'm just saying that you should not equate the good of the information, with the good of excluding access that information, and that you should be able to justify why all rights must be articulable in terms of physical objects if you want to use "infinite supply" arguments like that.
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by dada21 (163177) *
        Actually, I do. *please mod interesting, please mod informative*

        I was being a tad bit obnoxious here, but my point stands -- e-mail notification of updates for any site will slowly go the way of the do-do (or the animated GIF, if you will). I've even introduced my luddite father to RSS feeds, and he uses them now that he knows to look for them. More bloggers (and any site that updates regularly) should be moving to promote RSS feeds over e-mail notifications or updates.

        Note, I didn't say that my (arguably
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Rakishi (759894)

          Writers will make their money on subscriptions (and advertising) for those who appreciate the writing, rather than writing a book once and hoping it sells enough over years (and is quickly outdated).

          It's apparently always been a pain in the backside to make a living as an author, short of selling yourself out basically. Why would I subscribe to something when I can get the same content for free (or with less ads) from 100+ different websites within 10 minutes of it coming out? All those websites really need to cover is the cost of hosting not the cost of creation so they will always win in terms of price.

          Copyright is the great un-equalizer -- it protects "one-time work" rather than the ongoing labor that most other markets require for consistent long-term income.

          Huh? I'm sure that 99% of professionals artists would laugh at you as they work continuously just

          • by dada21 (163177) *
            It's apparently always been a pain in the backside to make a living as an author, short of selling yourself out basically. Why would I subscribe to something when I can get the same content for free (or with less ads) from 100+ different websites within 10 minutes of it coming out? All those websites really need to cover is the cost of hosting not the cost of creation so they will always win in terms of price.

            Currently, there is no market incentive, paying an author happens for two reasons: to avoid breakin
            • by Rakishi (759894)

              Currently, there is no market incentive, paying an author happens for two reasons: to avoid breaking the law, or altruism to support the author. That being said, I have years of experience with print newsletters I wrote and published, and I always told my subscribers to freely copy the newsletter for friends or family. Guess what happened? Friends and family subscribed for the express reason that they wanted to get a copy to read rather than wait for a copy or search for one.

              My public blogs are free, my private e-newsletters are not, even though I allow people to forward them to others (and many do). My reader base increases still, even though I freely let people share all my writings, even republish them as their own.

              There are massive difference between something being done in a limited regard on a small scale catering to a supportive market and it begin done at a large scale. All someone needs to do is subscribe to all popular writers then republish the content on a website for free, maybe giving credit if they are generous. Heck, soon someone would make a firefox extension that automatically goes to a free version when a subscription only page is reached.

              Modern society is not altruistic enough to support such a model

              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by dada21 (163177) *
                There are massive difference between something being done in a limited regard on a small scale catering to a supportive market and it begin done at a large scale.

                True, but the article was about blogging, and MOST bloggers will only reach a limited supportive market.

                All someone needs to do is subscribe to all popular writers then republish the content on a website for free, maybe giving credit if they are generous. Heck, soon someone would make a firefox extension that automatically goes to a free version wh
            • I'm going to pick a nit.
              The Chinese violins are for the most part easily tagged as such once you get at or above the intermediate/advanced student grades. Now, the value of the Chinese units is enormous, but the quality is not. I have two violins(one American of German labor, one advanced student Chinese), and one viola(Chinese), and have had the opportunity to play a very fine German unit. The tone of the Chinese instruments is not as rich in the base notes where the individual instruments can show a lo
              • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

                by UbuntuDupe (970646) *
                When you say "better", I assume you mean "better as per an internal consensus of the musical elite and indistinguishable to anyone else"?

                Don't mean to sound bitter or anything, it's just that there was the whole thing with Joshua Bell playing on the subway. I think if you have to tell someone something is good for them to appreciate it, it's not really good. Placebo principle and all.
                • I mean better in richness of bass notes, and in "fit and finish" as bot my Chinese violins show imperfections that are not present on German or American instruments (and honestly inexcusable) such as bumps and pits in the lacquer, divots in the wood that are filled with putty and then lacquered over. Little things. Like I said, they are an excellent value, but they are by no means yet equal to the high end German or American instruments.
        • Copyright is the great un-equalizer -- it protects "one-time work" rather than the ongoing labor that most other markets require for consistent long-term income. ... Income is an ongoing process of laboring, not a "do it once and reap benefits for 70+ years."

          Just curious, what is your opinion on people who get income from bonds, stocks, annuities, and (since I suspect you have an easy out for those three) appreciation of gold? Aren't those also "do it once and reap benefits for 70+ years" type tricks?

          I do
          • by dada21 (163177) *
            Just curious, what is your opinion on people who get income from bonds, stocks, annuities, and (since I suspect you have an easy out for those three) appreciation of gold? Aren't those also "do it once and reap benefits for 70+ years" type tricks?

            For me, money and time are the same thing, and don't differ at all. Money is merely a storage of time that can be redeemed to save you time in the future. Instead of mowing your own lawn (let's say it would take you 1 hour), you can redeem stored time (money) to
          • by MrNaz (730548)
            I see the appreciation of depreciation of gold and all commodities for that matter to not be a change in the values of those commodities, after all the value of a pound of butter does not change to the person making or eating it, but changes in the value of currency. In my perfect world, there would be a fixed supply of currency pegged to the population. Currency should serve ONLY as a means to transport good effectively in society, there is absolutely no reason that the quantity of currency in circulation
        • by roman_mir (125474)
          There is a very small distance from a work being useful to users while being worth something to the creator and being worthless to the creator while still being useful to the same users. Something that is useful to many people yet requires no effort to obtain (something that is copied free of charge for example,) is seing as worthless. It has its uses but is worthless because it requires no effort and if there is an equivalent distribution channel that requires more effort to get this 'worthless/valuable'
        • by PopeRatzo (965947) *
          Good job, dada. I'm also anti-copyright and I've found that there are useful alternatives to the traditional model of intellectual property. When I sell my work, I sell it entirely. I even allow my customers to put their own name on it, although I warn them that it will probably lower the value.

          It's been a long time since the laws of intellectual property have encouraged innovation OR protected the creative people. Now it's just another way to marginalize the people who actually do the work and enrich t
        • You know, considering your plain-words stance regarding freedom of speech, you may want to consider that copyright is also in the Constitution. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Clause [wikipedia.org]
      • by tubapro12 (896596)
        I too use email, to an extent. I use the RSS feeds from my email account to know who needs my attention and go from there and very rarely read a full email if I read any of the body content.
      • interesting ... funny ... offtopic ... Yeah, if you didn't know it was an UbuntuDupe post before, that should have tipped you off.

    • For those who know my opinions, I am anti-copyright, anti-trademark, anti-patent; basic anti-intellectual property of any kind.

      From the bottom portion of the default page of your site (unimocracy.com):

      The Global Unanimocracy Network repudiates copyright and all forms of force. Copy this content freely -- no attribution is needed to the original author.

      The Global Unanimocracy Network is powered by WordPress | Design by Andreas Viklund | Ported by Ainslie Johnson


      From Mr. Viklund's site:

    • Who uses e-mail anymore? RSS is what matters. Don't e-mail anyone, let them subscribe to your RSS feed or feeds.

      Not. Who uses RSS when I have Google News that I have customized for my interests.

      From its beginning I have always criticized RSS for only including a short blurb and a link. I would rather have the whole article in an RSS feed. I dont, and so I dont.

      Hello, World.

      • by dada21 (163177) *
        Not. Who uses RSS when I have Google News that I have customized for my interests.

        From its beginning I have always criticized RSS for only including a short blurb and a link. I would rather have the whole article in an RSS feed. I dont, and so I dont.


        I use RSS feeds FROM Google News to inform me of news updates on topics I follow. I actually have about 500 RSS feeds subscribed to from Google News alone. I have a top 50 topics that never get purged, I have 250 or so topics that get purged every other day,
      • RSS feeds can and often do include the entire article in the feed... it's just a matter of how the content provider has set it up. Some of my sites actually offer several flavors of the same RSS feed so that readers can choose the amount of content they see.

        For instance they could get summaries only, or whole articles, or whole articles+user comments, and I even offer topical filters so if they want they can just get the particular type of content they're interested in.

        if the feed you read is summarie
        • by JCOTTON (775912)
          thanks for the info. seems to me that the last time that I looked into rss, it was set up for summaries only. musta changed in the last 5 years. thanks again.
      • by Knara (9377)
        Depends. Like when I set up my Web Comics Nation account back a while ago, I found I was able to set whether the "Subscribe to Comic" button would supply the whole comic page or just the comic. I imagine that other services and RSS feeds have similar options.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by brewer13210 (821462)

      I believe in real assets that have finite supply, not intellectual assets that can have near infinite supply.

      Books, articles, news reports and blogs don't write themselves, and the last time I checked, there was a finite number of hours in a day. Thus I think it's easy to conclude that that intellectual property that people create is NOT in infinite supply.

      Todd
      • by roman_mir (125474)
        Precisely, the GP is basically a leech, a parasite, he profits from other people's work.
      • by alexgieg (948359)
        Then the content you produce has as its "value" the number of hours you spent on them. But hours != money. There is no direct translation that goes from a concrete quantity (hours, energy, materials etc.) to a given quantity of money. This means that, whatever you do, its monetary value is only what others are willing to pay for it, not a single dime more. If they're willing to pay $0, it's worth $0, and that's it. Then, how much is your intellectual production worth? Since anything that can become infinite
    • Those who try to protect their content from getting "stolen" will find themselves losing market share to those who freely allow re-distribution.

      Then why hasn't this happened already in the fields of recorded music and motion pictures? The vast majority of people still prefer recordings published by the Big Four (Sony/BMG, UMG, WMG, EMI) and movies published by the Big Six (Sony/MGM/Weinstein, Disney, Fox, Paramount, Warner, Universal) or Lionsgate to works published by smaller firms. Part of this has to do with the financial ability of these companies to promote their works through advertising.

    • I received a big 1099-C from three advertisers bases, and tossed it in the pile with my other 1099-C for my accountant.

      If you received a 1099C from someone, that means you welched on a debt to them and they wrote off the debt as uncollectable -- the 1099C shows that debt writeoff, which you need to claim as incme on your taxes.

      That's semi-ridiculous -- if you do ANYTHING for money, incorporate as a S-corp. Don't do anything on your own, otherwise your tax incentives are lost. I've never been a W9 employee

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by cgreuter (82182)

      3. The Legal Use of Images and Thumbnails

      see #2 -- Cease & Desist before lawsuit.

      Forget that. You should never ever hotlink someone else's image because they'll be able to replace it with the goatse.cx image [textfiles.com].

    • by robvs68 (560549)
      ... I am anti-copyright, anti-trademark, anti-patent; basic anti-intellectual property of any kind.

      Since you are so adamantly opposed to copyright etc., then I would expect that you would put a copyright release statement at the end of your posts.
    • Ugh, it almost seems like you have to jump through hoops now just to simply post your own thoughts. Set up an LLC, journalism shield laws, terms of use, etc etc. Why can nothing ever be simple and straightforward?

      For my own blog, I'm simply ignoring all of this and just doing what feels right. I live in Canada, so chances are anyone whom I piss off will not sue me and deal with international litigation to get at my scant assets.
  • by croddy (659025) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @02:31PM (#18977459)
    Also helps to know the Robots Exclusion Standard [robotstxt.org], to keep the riff-raff out.
  • Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by El Lobo (994537) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @02:32PM (#18977469)
    And those rules... how are they different for other things in life? You don't copy images in a blog, but don't do it for other things either... Don't claim that you are objective if being paid in a blog. Don't do it in your site or your book either... These are normal ethical rules for life that we shouldn't even NEED to explain to anyone.
  • Rule # 11 (Score:5, Funny)

    by rueger (210566) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @02:36PM (#18977563) Homepage
    Always remember that Slashdot is an excellent source of legal advice!
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by h4ter (717700)
      Wow. You've skipped from not reading TFA, right over not reading the summary, straight to not even really reading the headline!
  • by charleste (537078) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @02:37PM (#18977565)
    I RTFA ... it simply restates the bleeding obvious. In a nutshell:
    1. Don't steal. This includes trademarks, images, links, pay your taxes, and the other "gray" areas.
    2. You are responsible for your content. Even the comments. And don't count on being counted as a journalist.

  • by noidentity (188756) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @02:38PM (#18977591)
    Most importantly, "To clarify further, you may not rely upon this information as legal advice, nor as a recommendation or endorsement of any particular legal understanding, and you should instead regard this article as intended for entertainment purposes only."

    Oh.
  • Newtonian Laws (Score:5, Insightful)

    by abscissa (136568) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @02:38PM (#18977595)
    Kind of like the universal laws of physics. Here are the laws every blogger should know:

    1. Nobody wants to read your blog.
    2. 95% of bloggers are illiterate.
    3. Yes, the top blog spam garbage makes money (digg etc.) But do not quit your day job because, honey, you ain't gonna make no money. The days when "AllAdvantage" paid you to surf your computer are over.

    If your panties are all wet for blogspam, then go read Roland's technology trends or digg.com
    • I'm not here to pick a fight, but I do want to challenge two of your points.

      1. Untrue. "Nobody" implies 100%. It would be fair to say most people don't care about your blog. Bloggers (especially the online journal-keepers, not the true web-loggers) may have a few fans or friends who read regularly, but most people won't know they exist. Many families are starting to use blogs to replace those once-a-year newsletters.

      2. Illiterate? Based on what critera? You've just proved that old saying that says
    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward
      My blog ( http://johnbokma.com/ [johnbokma.com] ) has over 16,000 daily visitors and makes some nice money. So there go 2 out of 3 wrong. You might be right with 2 because English is not my native language. On the other hand a lot of people seem to be very happy with my Apache on XP tutorial.

      Don't assume that your personal opinion reflects reality. And if that hurts, join Digg.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Never assume you are safe even when you follow the above 12 important US laws
  • by Cr0w T. Trollbot (848674) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @02:42PM (#18977657)
    Anyone blogger that doesn't remember Godwin's Law is as bad as Hitler!

    Crow T. Trollbot

    • For those who don't get the joke, Godwin's Law is as follows:

      As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches one.
      (From Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] entry)
  • by tinkertim (918832) * on Thursday May 03, 2007 @02:44PM (#18977703) Homepage
    Sometimes I edit people's comments for very innocent reasons, some include : html markup somehow made it in, correcting a spelling error, fixing a broken link. It never dawned on me to have a terms of service that says I can and will edit comments as needed.

    I'm really not worried about it, but if patent trolls exist, there's a good chance that you-edited-my-comment-so-ill-sue-you'ers also exist.
  • In a nutshell... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by derEikopf (624124) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @02:44PM (#18977707)
    Don't say anything on a blog without making sure it's legal to say it. Sad but true.
  • by jshriverWVU (810740) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @02:59PM (#18977975)
    "at which point you can remove the link after you've profited from it." So under this philosophy it's ok to put a movie on your website, get a lot of money in google ads or whatever ad format, then wait for the cease and desist to take it down and keep your money? I agreed with him a little up till this point. The patent and copyright system is a bit borked, but what he suggests is just wrong. *shakes head*
    • by fuzz6y (240555)

      "at which point you can remove the link after you've profited from it." So under this philosophy it's ok to put a movie on your website, get a lot of money in google ads or whatever ad format, then wait for the cease and desist to take it down and keep your money?

      Quit being dense. The author has assumed that deep-linking is a perfectly moral action, but some webmasters will disagree and will endeavor to stop you. Therefore the reasons to not do it involve avoiding negative consequences like lawsuits, not

    • by adelord (816991)

      So under this philosophy it's ok to put a movie on your website, get a lot of money in google ads or whatever ad format, then wait for the cease and desist to take it down and keep your money? I agreed with him a little up till this point. The patent and copyright system is a bit borked, but what he suggests is just wrong. *shakes head*

      Isn't that the youtube and youtube clone business model?

      1. Create a safe harbor web 2.0 site.
      2. Allow users to post media they do not own.
      3. Collect ad revenue.
      4. Take down content after the C&D letter arrives knowing that your users are posting faster than the C&D's can ship.
      5. Profit!



      Thanks for explaining away those pesky "..." lines.

  • Law #13 (Score:5, Funny)

    by yfkar (866011) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @03:05PM (#18978069)
    Getting slashdotted can be hazardous for your server.
    • by deuist (228133)
      Then bring it on! [wordpress.com]. The article was more about the things that you do that will get you into trouble with the law. Getting your webpage Slashdotted doesn't really rank very high on the author's list of priorities.


      I was a bit confused about his views on deep linking. He must have had over 50 links in that article---all of them direct links.

  • by sebsa (1090691)
    Law 13: Nobody wants to know what you have to say, except for other bloggers.
  • Since TFA is now firmly slashdotted, I'm making the assumption (based on the mention of copyright etc) that these are 12 rules for American bloggers.

    Not sure how much these apply to anywhere else - although from what I can piece together from comments, there does seems to be some general good advice in TFA.

    Obviously if you are in, for example; China, Turkey, Russia or Thailand, you need 12 very different rules - or your life may be in danger. But Copyright? Nah, if you are not in the US, you need not
    • by corsec67 (627446)
      But, is it the bloggers' location, or the bloggers' hosts' location that matters?
      • by Tim C (15259)
        Given that if it goes to court it'll be the blogger that's called before the bench, it's the blogger's location. The server's location only matters in so far as it may determine whether or not the ISP/hosting service respond to a take-down notice or request for customer information.

        If you start posting illegal material, don't think that the fact that the machine your blog is on is hosted overseas is going to save you even if it's legal there. *You* are posting the material, *you* are liable if that material
  • by davidc (91400) <davidc&ccmi,salk,edu> on Thursday May 03, 2007 @03:38PM (#18978775)
    Sinfe TFA is slashdotted, here's the mirrordot link:

    http://www.mirrordot.org/stories/8d350aa16dcfd9cf6 c191eacab9214c8/index.html [mirrordot.org]
  • ... not to use the idiotic term "interweb," you tosser!
  • #1. Nobody really gives a rat's ass about your diary no matter how much you try to wrap it in puffed up laws and supposed ethics.

    Okay, so this is over the top and I admit it. But has anyone else had their fill of blogs regurgitating other blogs, droning on about their day or wrapping interesting articles in a layer of nonsense that the reader is expected to care about on the way to the *actual* content (c.f. www.digg.com)?

    I cruise through ars technica a couple of times a week - there are usually a coup

  • ... all I wanted to do was post some pictures of my kitty.
  • 1) Don't offend people in Sweden, and especially not people who can refuse to sell me beer.
    2) Unless you strike at big US-money, no one will bother to sue me who am in another country.

    In worst case, I have to take something down. But no one will go through all the trouble to make me do it.

    Keep on doing business in another country! Much better than bothering with your local tyrants!
  • by nick_davison (217681) on Thursday May 03, 2007 @08:26PM (#18982629)
    Charming as it is to debate different laws, they're only of merit if both sides can afford to go to court.

    Here's the quick version of the U.S. (civil) legal system:

    Party A doesn't like something party B does.

    1. Party A threatens (usually via a Cease And Desist)

    2. If party B can't afford a lawsuit, they probably cave unless they're pretty sure of 3. in which case they call party A's bluff and go on to 3. anyway.

    3. If party A can't afford the lawsuit, after having their bluff called, they probably cave. If they think B is bluffing, they repeat 2-3 a few more times.

    4. In the rare event that both sides refuse to back down from their bluffs, it goes to court where...

    5. Repeat steps 2-3 as out of court settlements. Far more money than simply sending a cease and desist letter gets involved here so most people try to get out during 2-3.

    6. Maybe, just maybe, it comes down to the legal merits. Even then, it may well not end up decided on so much as reach an out of court settlement based on the likelihood of losing vs. cost of doing so rather than actual legal right/wrong.

    The moral of the story is that laws are all well and good but 99% of these things come down to who has the money to fight this for longer than the other guy - they win. Sad, but also true.

Money is the root of all wealth.

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