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An article on Ars Technica, by Nate Anderson, points out a federal case where a judge has rules that bloggers have the same rights as journalists. This case was prompted by a blogger posting about his negative experiences with BidZirk using not the company logo, a picture of the company owner and his family and some not so friendly terms.

The most important section of the ruling is the one dealing with [Philip] Smith’s status as a journalist. The court admitted that it was impossible to determine in advance whether a blogger was a journalist and so used a “functional analysis” that “examines the content of the material, not the format, to determine whether it is journalism.”

The judge noted that Smith wrote the article in order to convey information, that he had done research in preparing it, that he addressed both positive and negative aspects of his experience, and that he provided a checklist for others to use. “The fact that Smith reports negatively about his experience with BidZirk does not dictate that the article’s function or intent was not news reporting or news commentary,” wrote the judge. Furthermore, he noted explicitly that “some bloggers are without question journalists.”

Very interesting.

I can’t remember now where I heard this, but on one of the podcasts I listen to, the speaker was talking about bloggers and how they saw themselves. In this inquiry the speaker had found that most bloggers actually do not consider themselves journalists. If you know what podcast I’m talking about let me know and I’ll gladly link to it here (it had to have been one from last month sometime).

4 Responses so far.

  1. Jeff says:

    I guess we all better start brushing up on our grammar and look more professional on our blogs. Hey, does this mean we can use a press pass to get into stuff?

  2. Nicole says:

    That would be cool!

  3. Tom says:

    The interesting thing about that case was the fact that the defendant refused court orders to deliver evidence, and yet wasn’t sanctioned. I read the transcripts & docs in interest, only to realize this is NOT a case about blogging or first amendment rights. It was a case about illegal use of property (ie,. a trademark).

    The plaintiff’s lawyer made a few tactical blunders, but the case was lost, not won. It is no more a case for free speech or blogging than it was for world peace…

    If anyone is interested, all the documents are available online for download, and the truth speaks for itself.

  4. Tom says:

    The interesting thing about that case was the fact that the defendant refused court orders to deliver evidence, and yet wasn’t sanctioned. I read the transcripts & docs in interest, only to realize this is NOT a case about blogging or first amendment rights. It was a case about illegal use of property (ie,. a trademark).

    The plaintiff’s lawyer made a few tactical blunders, but the case was lost, not won. It is no more a case for free speech or blogging than it was for world peace…

    If anyone is interested, all the documents are available online for download, and the truth speaks for itself.


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