Friday, February 11, 2005

Blogs and E-Mail: Private, Public, or Some Mix?

Eric Gunnarson brings up an intersting topic on his blog . He's wondering where the public/private border is for blog content. As I said in a comment to that topic, folks really need to carefully consider what they've drafted before hitting the send or post button. Technology has greatly eased our ability to communicate with large numbers of people. However, keep in mind the cons on the flip side of communicating with large numbers of people: electronic communications (blogs, web pages, e-mails) very well may be kept around forever. That same communication may end up in Google's massive warehouse, ready and waiting for anyone to pull it out with a search. Another issue is the odds your communication will be seen by people you weren't directly writing for. E-mails get forwarded on, blogs get referenced to entire new communities you didn't know existed. Do you really want a message written in a moment's frustration or impatience to get passed around to a wide range of folks you didn't care to see it? Do you really want something moderately private, personal, or intimate available for anyone to see? Far too many folks give little or no thought to what they're writing in e-mails or blog posts. Give yourself a moment's time to review and rethink whatever the message you're writing. Perhaps a bit of editing may save you some unease down the road. I know there are a few things floating around I wish I'd hit "Cancel" on..


writinggirl said...
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writinggirl said...

Legally, (no, I am not a lawyer, only a writer who wants to get paid) the copyright for letters belongs to the writer. Repeat, the writer. Not the recipient. A recipient may show the original letter to others, but may not make copies. To do so is copyright infringement. It is in effect, theft.

If emails and blogs fall into the same legal catagory as letters, then emails or blogs taken without the writer/owner's permission and forwarded or posted somewhere else violate US copyright law and can be prosecuted in court. It doesn't matter whether someone made money from them or not. It's a usage of property issue -- you gotta have the owner's permission first before you use their stuff.

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