A weblog or "blog" is basically a personal internet journal cum bulletin board. An unrestricted weblog or "blog" is an internet website which enables anyone with internet access to post comments. A restricted weblog permits the posting of comments only by authorised users.
Although blogs are a relatively new phenomenon, they have grown like topsy in the recent past. Some reports put the current number of blogs at in excess of 15 million, up from 7.8 million a mere 6 months ago. These days, a brief surf of the internet will turn up blogs on just about any subject.
However, just because they are relatively new and cyberspace-based doesn’t mean that blogs are immune from the law of the land.
The operator of a motor vehicle dealership was recently able to obtain an injunction in the Supreme Court of New South Wales against a blogger (the operator of a blog) who had set up a blog apparently specifically to disparage the dealership (the blogger’s car having been stolen from the dealership). The motor vehicle dealer claimed that the name (www.hunterholdensucks. com) and content (uncomplimentary allegations) of the domain amounted to injurious falsehood, namely false statements concerning his business which were calculated to induce others not to deal with him. The injunction precluded the blogger from maintaining the offending domain name or displaying the material contained in that domain or similar material on any Internet website. The blogger was also ordered immediately to shut down the offending domain.
Defamation actions based on the content of blogs will undoubtedly become quite common in the future. However, injunctions restraining publication of allegedly defamatory material are only granted in the very clearest cases, so as to interfere as little as possible with the community’s right to discuss in an open forum matters of public interest.
Blogs have given rise to other issues aside from the obvious concerns about injurious falsehood and defamation. Breach of copyright and theft of intellectual property are others another. Most bloggers are neither trained lawyers nor journalists. They are generally less attuned to the legal niceties which preclude the liberal use of others’ work and claiming it as their own.
Yet another concern is potential breach of confidentiality. If an employee maintains a blog, there is always a concern that he or she may, even inadvertently, make public information about the employer’s business which should remain private. Obviously such things happen all the time in everyday life, but there is a significant difference between gossiping about company business with one or two friends over a beer, and publishing that same gossip as fact on the worldwide web.
A few blogs of interest:
http://www.froststreet.net/ The Culinary Adventures of a New York City Lawyer
http://www.legalunderground.com/ A blawg that asks the questions -can lawyers be entertaining?
http://www.texasbar.com/saywhat/ weblog/index.html A weblog of classic humor from U.S. District Court Judge Jerry Buchmeyer
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.
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The issue of recording telephone calls was recently considered in the Federal Court in Furnari v Ziegert  FCA 1080.
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