The First Amendment’s Impact on Bloggers: A Legal Perspective
This chapter examines the First Amendment’s challenges to bloggers in the United States and highlights the potential legal consequences for victimizing someone online. While the First Amendment protects an overall right to free speech, there are certain boundaries to this right. Federal Internet-related speech laws, libel, invasion of privacy, copyright, trademark, and others are analyzed within the context of blogging. The author discusses the potential legal consequences to blogging at work or after hours and how personal blogs can negatively impact the work environment. Several Supreme Court cases are discussed to assist bloggers in understanding the scope of contemporary Internet free speech laws. An analysis of U.S. federal laws restricting online speech and an overview of the following areas of speech law are provided: libel, invasion of privacy, protection for confidential sources, copyright, trademark, true threats, and obscenity.