When a journalist takes on a company, brand, individual or other entity -- they are protected by the big media companies that employ them. Bloggers, not so much. Leslie Richards is learning this lesson the hard way.


She runs a small organic clothing store, Oko Box, and writes a blog that focuses on eco-friendly products and lifestyle choices. She was approached by a production company called Vision Media Television. They told her they wanted to make a TV documentary that included her business. So far, so good. But not for long.
After a few conversations, the production company told Richards that they needed $25K up front to proceed. She thought it sounded a bit shady so she did quite a bit of homework and then posted the entire saga (including e-mails back and forth between herself and the company) on her blog.
Her headline..."Scam Taking Advantage of Green Businesses" not only drew her readers' attention, but it also garnered her a $20 million lawsuit.
In a post on BlogHer.com Virginia Debolt raises some important questions. What are a blogger's right? What protections are there? How does the first Amendment play into all of this?
Debolt's post goes on to suggest protecting yourself by forming an LLC to give you some arm's length protection and adding disclaimers to your site to give yourself a little cushion. But frankly, she doesn't sound that convinced.
I have to admit, this hasn't really been on my radar screen. Maybe it should be. How about you? Have you ever considered the potential danger of of a specific blog post? Have you ever decided not to publish something because it felt too risky?
Is this something you think you (or all of us who blog) should protect yourself from? If so, how are you going to do that?

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR

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Drew McLellan is the CEO of Agency Management Institute, a company serving 250+ agencies to help the owners build profitable agencies that evolve and scale.

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Twitter: @DrewMcLellan