Monday, October 13, 2008

law suits on line

From the KC Star

More lawsuits trip up bloggers on Internet
By DAN MARGOLIES
The Kansas City Star
Local blogger Dan Ryan has never been sued for his postings, although one commenter whose anti-Semitic ravings he deleted accused him of slander and threatened “to own my house.”

Even so, Ryan, whose daily musings about politics, homemade beer and whatever else strikes his fancy appear at www.gonemild.com, said he was not overly concerned about getting sued.

“I have the benefit of being fundamentally judgment-proof — like most bloggers,” he joked, referring to his relative lack of wealth. Also, he said, “I try to avoid anything slanderous or anything that would be actionable.”

Ryan’s caution may stem from his training as an attorney. Most bloggers, though, are less attuned to the niceties of the law. An increasing number are finding themselves on the wrong end of a lawsuit.

The Citizen Media Law Project has tallied 280 legal actions against bloggers and other online publishers nationwide. Compared with the millions of blogs out there, that might not seem like a lot. But the numbers have been trending steadily upward, from a mere four lawsuits in 1997 to 89 last year.

Although only a handful of cases have resulted in verdicts or settlements, a few have been eye-popping enough to give even the average basement- residing poster pause.

The largest was an $11.3 million defamation verdict in Florida against a woman who, on various Internet bulletin boards, disparaged the head of an organization she hired to remove her son from a Costa Rica boarding school as a “crook,” “con artist” and “fraud.”

Closer to home, St. Charles, Mo., authorities launched a criminal investigation after Lori Drew, an adult woman posing as a boy online, taunted 13-year-old Megan Meier with a series of cruel messages. Megan subsequently committed suicide.

Although the Missouri investigation was dropped, a federal grand jury in California indicted Drew for conspiracy and computer fraud.

The Drew case, to be sure, represents the extreme end of the blogging spectrum, where unfiltered, unmediated, unedited content is posted on the Internet.

It’s only a matter of time, experts said, before bloggers provoke more lawsuits, whether for defamation and invasion of privacy or for copyright infringement.

“In fact, every time someone publishes anything online, whether it’s a news article, blog post, podcast, video or even a user comment, they open themselves up to potential legal liability,” David Ardia, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, wrote recently on Poynter Online.

Ardia, who also directs the Citizen Media Law Project, noted that “even the smallest blog or most esoteric discussion forum has the potential to reach hundreds of millions of people throughout the world.”

Mainstream news organizations have insurance policies that cover the copyright and defamation risks associated with online publication. But until now, such insurance wasn’t available for individual bloggers.

Last month, Kansas City-based Media/Professional Insurance, which bills itself as the largest underwriter of media liability insurance in the world, launched a product aimed at the ordinary citizen blogger. BlogInsure, as it is called, appears to be a first — liability insurance for bloggers covering costs and damages for claims of defamation, invasion of privacy and copyright infringement.

“To my knowledge, this is a unique product,” said Media/Pro’s chairman, Leib Dodell. “It’s an expansion of what we’ve been trying to do for the last 30 years, which is to stay abreast of developments in the media industry and make our coverage relevant to them.”

The holidays are coming

The holidays are almost here and one way to save money and time is to shop on-line. Rossini.com offers multiple shopping carts from simple to more powerful. Call us now and take advantage of the power of on-line marketing and sales.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

How you can fight the current economic slowdown

Well stocks are tanking and most of us are losing paper money. Main street is slowing down which means that perhaps your sales are slowing down. How can we all fight this and continue to make sales?

You must cut some things or rethink some things such as postage. It costs .42 or so to mail a letter. You think heck that is cheap until you add the cost of the envelope and the handling of the letter and also gas to get to the post office and on and on. The little things add up. So what can we do? Well how about using the Internet to do some e-mailing to your clients and suspects and prospects. An e-mail newsletter done correctly is extremely cost efficient. You do have creation time to put together a good targeted letter. Yes you do have to have a program to capture your e-mail names and put them in a list that can be sent out. You do have to make sure these are your names, your customers or prospects that wont mind getting your e-mail. Once this is done though you have it created and now you can take that list and e-mail it out. Think about it, if you had 1000 names to mail to it would just in postage potentially cost you $420.00 just in postage to mail it out traditionally. It usually costs a lot less to do this with an e-mail newsletter. The big plus is that you can potentially one week latter e-mail again to this list at an even lesser rate thus once again saving part of that $420.00 snail mail postage costs.

Well this is just one way to reach your clients and save money. Today people use e-mail all the time so call me and I will help you find multiple ways to use e-mail newsletters to increase sales and save money.

Talk soon

Joe Rossini

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