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Can I use the actual Business names in a review site???

  1. theperfectblonde
    Member

    I'm just wondering, is it alright to use the actual name of a business on a review site???? Is it libelous? I think my mom's just paranoid. I started blogging about salons/beauty products... Any help would be greatly appreciated!!

    The blog I need help with is theperfectblonde.wordpress.com.

  2. Yes you can but your mom is a right on lady. I'm a paralegal and I think it's extremely important to comprehend all the nuances of the libel law before publishing anything. I have published a post on this called "Libel: Blogging Rights and Wrongs" and you will find advice in it under the section titled "Some take it or leave it advice for bloggers".

    While it’s true that we are all entitled to make ‘fair comment on any issue of public interest’, the legal rule of thumb is: ‘fair comment’ must reflect an honestly held opinion based upon proven fact and must not be motivated by malice’.

    Also common knowledge and common sense ought to come into play. When it comes to "proven facts," do you have a licensed laboratory for testing beauty salon products that will meet scientific standards equivalent to those of the corporations whose products you may want to critique? If not then you will be relying on the least reliable evidence of all ie. anecdotal evidence.

    Consider also that corporations have legal firms on retainer. They take any matters that affect their products and corporate reputation negatively very seriously and can launch a suit against you that takes years to resolve. Moreover, even if you 'win' the suit years later you will have lost your valuable time and money marching off to court over and over again and paying your lawyer to appear with you at every court date, even if the case is simply adjourned again, and gain, and again. Even if the court award through a counter claim goes in your favor by the lion's share of any award you get will go to your lawyer, and you will never regain the hours you lost from work.

    So if you think you can get a free blog that free hosted and let fly and damage the reputation of any corporation and their products -- please think again about what your mom has said. She's not paranoid. She's practical and if you are underage, then she's the one who would have to foot the bill and pay the price for any libel you commit.

    Regarding your blog:
    Automattic Inc. is an American corporation and all of those blogging at wordpress.com, regardless of their country of residence, are subject to American law when it comes to posting to our own blogs and other blogs we are official users of, commenting on our own blogs and others blogs, and posting questions and answers to the wordpress.com forum and/or to the wordpress.org forum.
    Please read the wordpress.com TOS:
    See: 2. Responsibility of Contributors
    5. Responsibility of Website Visitors

    Regarding generating a free disclaimer for your blog > http://disclosurepolicy.org/

  3. theperfectblonde
    Member

    Timethief thank you so much for taking so much time to repond! I didn't expect such a great response, I really appreciate it, Thank you!!!

  4. theperfectblonde
    Member

    Timethief thank you so much for taking your time and expertise to respond! Wow! I Didn't expect such a great, thorough answer..I appreciate it!

  5. @theperfectblonde
    Thank you for acknowledging the time and effort I put into my response to you. I appreciate it. Best wishes with your blog. :)

  6. @theperfectblonde - feel free to express your opinion whatever that may be and in whatever language you choose. The world isn't all sweetness and light and we aren't about to pretend it is.

    @timethief - you seem to be interpreting our Terms of Service. Please leave that to the company. Thanks.

  7. <blockquote. feel free to express your opinion whatever that may be and in whatever language you choose.

    To the best of my knowledge response was an accurate statement of the law pertaining to libel as it stands. It was also a clear expression of my opinion of I believe is in the best interest of the party who posted.

  8. It looks to me like she's not interpreting the TOS: where she referred to them, she was specific about facts. You're surely not disputing that the TOS say that US law applies to the blogs?

    And the majority of that post was just general legal advice, good advice, too. That said, a review site that hesitates to post the names of the products or corporations it's reviewing isn't worth much.

  9. Corrected due to typos above:

    To the best of my knowledge, my response was an accurate statement of the law pertaining to libel as it stands. It was also a clear expression of my own personal opinion of what I believe is in the best interest of the party who posted.

  10. The American law applies to all companies registered in America, according to the principals I work for and they are lawyers. They also tell me that Changes Affect Testimonial Advertisements, Bloggers, Celebrity Endorsements are in effect under the new FTC regulations http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2009/10/endortest.shtm

  11. pornstarbabylon
    Member

    You can put Opinion/Editorial at the beginning of each post. That's what everyone has told me to do. The words alleged, claim, and my personal opinion help too.

    The CEO of a company emailed me this week threatening to sue me claiming I could ruin his business if I write about him ever again. Everyone I emailed that personally knows him started laughing at him. I wrote in to WordPress hoping the administrator that has helped me before ^^ would reply but someone else did and it wasn't the answer I thought I would get. Doom and gloom fell over me. I have two more stories to write about him soon. So fingers crossed and hope he doesn't do anything. *sigh*

  12. @pornstarbabylon
    I hope everything works out well for you. Many people threaten to sue but don't.

    It's pretty simple to avoid defaming anyone.. Never ever rely on hearsay or anecdotal evidence. Never state that something is fact unless you can prove it to be true, beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt. Never publish anything that’s motivated by malice. Check your wording out at least three times to be sure there is no malicious intent (determination to hurt another person) contained in it before you publish.

  13. You can't give general legal advice. You can only give what you think and that is very different. A defence of "But it was said in the forum" is not a defence. If someone wants legal advice - go pay for it.

    And completely missing above is the First Amendment. You may be surprised just how much that covers.

  14. Come on, Mark. There's no court in the world that appends "and is paid for" to a definition of "legal advice." She's not pulling it out her ass; she's pulling it out of a bunch of lawyer's asses, which makes it qualified legal advice.

    If all legal advice were definitive, they wouldn't need courts at all.

  15. Well if someone contacts us and says "But it says in the forum.." they will be met with a different answer.

    It is odd that someone posts about CSS or similar and gets a 'this is for peer support' yet when a post about the law appears they are given something totally different.

    Someone once said "Publish and be damned". Good advice.

  16. As you know, that's what I do. But then, when do I ever ask for advice?

  17. pornstarbabylon
    Member

    Is Mark yelling at me or Timethief? *cries*

    I only write what I've seen already written elsewhere. This way i can say well you didn't threaten them, so why threaten me. Worse has been said about this guy but he's complaining about me. He says if one model cancels with them because of what I wrote, that's hurting his business. I told him I'm not trying to hurt his business but just warn women about who is doing what to who. The one place he would never sue that has said far worse about him is a forum owned by a man who distributes his work. Now there's me. Eh.

  18. raincoaster / pornstarbabylon - you did not offer the advice above so no, not you.

    I have a problem with the first reply in this thread and how it is written. I have said why. It seeks to frighten as much as inform (from opinion).

    http://disclosurepolicy.org/ was created by a company who provide pay-per-post reviews. Their disclosure policy means little and is inappropriate given the OP inferred they will be critical.

    I do not speak from any legal training or being around lawyers. I have a blog which has been the subject of several complaints to my web host and I have read just about every Terms of Service complaint here since 2006. If you speak from experience and it is your opinion then say what you need to say. Sure there are caveats but then that applies to everything in life.

    It's your blog. Write :)

  19. The law of defamation (slander - character assassination - libel) balances two extremely important, and sometimes competing, rights:
    the right to engage in free speech;
    and the right to be free from untrue attacks on reputation.

    It's entirely up to each individual as an author/publisher whether you wish to risk prosecution for defamation or not. There is no legal immunity for those who publish defamatory statements on blogs, in web pages, and/ or in any online forums, boards, chat rooms, etc. If you utter or publish a defamatory statement or comment then you do so at your peril.

    timethief - "Publish at your peril."
    (1) Never ever rely on hearsay or anecdotal evidence.
    (2) Never state that something is fact unless you can prove it to be true, beyond any reasonable shadow of doubt.
    (3) Never publish anything that’s motivated by malice. Check your wording out at least three times to be sure there is no malicious intent (determination to hurt another person) contained in what you write before you publish.

    Mark - "Publish and be damned" [is] Good advice.

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