About blogging and this lawsuit

One that intrigues me the most is the difference between the way print publications can be sued versus the average opinion blog.

When someone has a complaint about a misstatement in a print publication, the law demands that complaint be put into writing and given to the publisher. The publisher is then given time to correct the statement or defend it. According to Jennifer Peterson, Wisconsin bloggers aren’t currently given the same grace. (Thanks to a reader for this link, by the way.)

Part of this complaint was during my time at BrookfieldNOW. The Journal Communications attorney at that time, Paul Kritzer, worked with me to resolve that.

Which raises another really interesting question. Are MyCommunityNOW bloggers afforded the protection of Wis. Stat. section 895.05(2) while the rest of us are dangling? Does that mean they are in fact publishing for Journal Communications even though Journal Communications disclaims they are independent?

I suppose it’s questions like this that led me to conclude judges set policy. If the judge were to rule a blogger deserves the right to make corrections like a magazine or newspaper, that would be setting precedent. Then lawmakers would have to decide if they wanted to add bloggers to that statute or specifically deny that right. In the meantime, it’s a new rule.

Bloggers, don’t assume you won’t get sued. I have done some research and there is at least one organization granting the opportunity to buy insurance for your blog. The dues to the organization are $25, but I didn’t see what coverage cost.

Another legal ruling (but I think in another state) determined a difference between blogs that derive no income and ones that do. (Sorry, I can’t find the link.) I’ve talked to you all off and on about running ads. The fact that I DIDN’T may be a saving grace for me, but I’ll get into all of that later if it works out.

So, when I mention this lawsuit could impact bloggers, it’s not because I’m Ms. Thang and everyone will care. It’s because to some extent blogging is still the Wild West and laws are silent about where bloggers fit in.

Trust me, this is one tough way to find out.


  1. Drove through the Shire today… looks nice!

  2. Wilson828 says:

    Here … let me give another thought on this blog entry … you have been served lawsuit papers. Now, be a good policyholder and promptly and directly, give those to your homeowners insurance company – your umbrella insurance may very well cover you .. at least somewhat… for your legal expenses. Don’t miss this step. Failure to promptly notify them could void any future rights with the insurance company you may have. Listen to me. I actually know about this. File the paperwork. Your insurance agent or broker isn’t a claims person .. file the claim!!!

  3. Uhem. Done. Last Thursday in fact.

  4. Wilson828 says:

    okay good… now sit back and relax. This is nonsense and will only cause you to waste your time – don’t let it ruin your summer. Enjoy your kids … have fun. Drink wine. Eat. Drink more wine. Celebrate life. Help me laugh at the boobery in NB. (smile)

  5. Boobery? What? Where?

  6. Wilson828 says:

    No no no Dan…. right away you fall into the gutter and start thinking about Hooters and such. I’m talkin’ about New Berlin politics or gamesmanship.

    But as long as you brought it up … ah … summer….. smile.


  1. […] bloggers from lawsuits along the lines of SLAPP suits. This is why Kilkenny’s points about a potential decision from a judge will have significant impact in the future makes sense, unless of course the case is dropped and […]