Thursday, November 07, 2013

Blogger insurance issue simmers in the far background, like on a green screen

There are scattered reports on the web still about Blogger insurance ("media perils"), including one on the Oracle website, here with no date. The article links to a 2004 story (now cached but no longer present) that about someone sued for reposting libelous comments sent to him in an email, and reposting emailcontent was not protected by Section 230. Oracle warns that simply hyperlinking to a defamatory page could make one a defendant for libel (as noted here before), but in practice suits about hyperlinks seem to be very rare.
 M.P. McQueen has a story on Blogger insurance from the Wall Street Journal way back to May 21, 2009, here. He starts with a complicated case were a blogger was sued by a company associated with the adult industry for claiming that the company had allowed compromise of personal information.  It would appear from the facts that Section 230 wouldn’t apply, and there are real questions about whether the blogger is a real “journalist”.  The article goes on to explain how some property and casualty company cover online defamation risks as part of umbrella coverage, a practice which still surprises me because I don’t know how insurance companies could price the risk.  In this world of mandatory insurance in other areas (like Obamacare) one imagines someone wanting to require property companies to offer the coverage, which would not be a good idea.  Libel and copyright infringement risk are not well correlated to physical property damage or accident risk. 
I’ll keep up on this one. 

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