Blogging and the Law

i. Purpose Statement 

The purpose of this website is to inform readers of the legal issues associated with blogging, an emerging form of communication.  This website was created by Will Cross and Brian Wise as an assignment for Professor Gasaway's Cyberspace Law Seminar at the University of North Carolina School of Law.  This website exists for educational purposes only and does not purport to offer legal advice.    

ii. What is a Blog?

A blog is a website in which items are posted on a regular basis and displayed in reverse chronological order.  The content of the blog is determined by the blogger or author who posts regular entries to the blog.  Some blogs focus on specific subjects while other blogs discuss every inane minute of the bloggers life, including what kind of potato chips they bought at the grocery store this afternoon.  Blog content often combines text, pictures and links to websites and other blogs.   

iii. Why is Blogging Significant?
While blogging started as little more than online journaling, it has become so much more.  Blogs are quickly emerging technological phenomenon with nearly unrivaled growth and popularity.  Blogs have become amazingly popular because they are such a unique forum for communication.  For the first time, an individual’s thoughts can be made available to literally the rest of the world in a matter of seconds.  Many blogs have a very intimate feel because they created by individuals and yet these blogs have the potential to have a global impact.  Blogs are significant because, unlike any other form of communication...a blog allows an individual the ability to post ideas and information in real-time, for little or no cost to a truly global audience.

iv. Facts

- Blogging is believed to have began in 1995 as a form of online journal-keeping.  

- launched in the summer of 1999, brought blogging to the masses by allowing internet users with limited technical know-how the ability to blog. 

- Rate of Growth: A blog is added to the blogosphere every second, the blogosphere has doubled in the past 5 months The ever-expanding blogosphere:  A Google search for “blog” returns nearly 2 billion results.

- Politics: Trent Lott’s downfall as Senate leader has generally been attributed to criticism originating from the blogosphere concerning his remarks regarding Strom Thurmond.

- Blogging for Bucks: If you can develop an audience and generate the accompanying internet hits, you may be able to get paid for your work RSS or really simply syndication: Allow readers to automatically get headlines from selected blogs.