It’s not about freedom of speech….

I picked this article up from the SMH today "Chinese professor sues blog host" – it reports on a Chinese professor who was not amused when he read some comments from one of his students.

"So when the operators of the hosting website refused to remove the offending language, he decided to sue them for harm to his reputation, in what Chinese media yesterday called the first such case to come before the country’s courts."

Initially my reaction was about internet censorhsip issues (perhaps that’s the angle the article wanted us to go with…) – and then I re-read it – it talks about " offensive remarks" and I started to wonder if realistically, it’s a case of defamation!! Now defamation, slander or similar laws apply to publicly published works – and a weblog is publicly published – so – it’s defamation!
Now I don’t think our laws would hold up suing the weblog host company (but I guess they have more money?), they would be going for the individual – however, that’s not really my point!

The article is a timely reminder, as I prepare for my classess and the start of a new semester – and another 70 or so new webloggers – that it is part of MY responsiblity to ensure they fully understand the implications (and potential consequences) of publicly publishing their work / comments / opinions etc on their weblogs!