Notable websites including Wired and Wikipedia marked Wednesday as a day of protest against two pieces of proposed legislation currently being considered by the United States Congress. If enacted, these bills, “Stop Online Piracy Act” and “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011” would force major changes in how website owners managed their online properties and most likely resulting in limits on free speech.
Changes may be in the works in laws covering the collection or use of data that can be connected to website visitors, whether it is a specific person or simply tied to a device such as computer, or mobile phone. Yesterday, Federal Trade Commission staff issued a press release outlining the commission’s recommendations for overhauling how businesses handle online privacy issues.
The new Guides are effective December 1st, 2009. As is usually the case, ignorance of the law is not an advisable defense. Since the new Guides specifically address “new media” content such as blogs and viral marketing, it is a good idea for anyone writing reviews, or providing testimonials in online publishing, become familiar with the Guides, particularly if they have a direct relationship with, or receive any sort of compensation from product or service providers.
If a newly sponsored North Carolina Senate Bill becomes law, anyone posting false or defamatory material on their website should tread carefully. Senate Bill 46, entitled An Act to Make It Unlawful to Communicate False, Defamatory Material That is Libelous or Slanderous Through an Electronic Medium, would provide online publishers ten days to remove material, and post an apology once notified of the transgression, or face a Class 2 misdemeanor.
In July, a civil lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Tampa, Fla., was filed alleging an individual broke a software program’s copy protection and sold unauthorized copies. What makes the case so unusual is the accused is a Second Life avatar named “Volkov Catteneo.”