Monday, October 13, 2008

Living With Risk, Without BlogInsure

Never touch a child, even to give him or her a hug when he or she is happy.

Never mention a fellow employee's appearance, even to compliment him or her on a new outfit.

Never stop to help someone broken down on the side of the road.

Never venture east of State Line, or north of 435.

And never write a blog post that might anger somebody, because they might sue.

Life is full of risk, and all of the advice above has at least a tiny bit of conventional wisdom to back it up. If your goal in life is to avoid risk, you probably have accepted all of the above advice, and a good deal more.

Today's Kansas City Star has an article about BlogInsure for bloggers. For somewhere between $530 and $3,370, a local company will insure you for defamation and infringement cases, after a $2500 deductible. They'll make you take a free course in media law first.

The essence of the risk aversive justification for a product like this lies in a quotation I'll copy and link to here, fully aware that I could be accused of infringing on the Star's copyright by doing so:
“In fact, every time someone publishes anything online, whether it’s a news article, blog post, podcast, video or even a user comment, they open themselves up to potential legal liability,” David Ardia, a fellow at Harvard University’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society, wrote recently on Poynter Online.

How am I going to catch a wink of sleep tonight, while the risk of financial ruin is accompanying everything I do, both online and in the real world? Should I write a big check to Media Professional Insurance for BlogInsure? Should I shut this blog down, and live meekly in my insured home, with the shades drawn?

Truth is, there is no way to avoid all risk. If someone tells you that you shouldn't do something because "you could get sued", they may be offering sage advice, or they may be asking you to join in their fear-tinged worldview. Ultimately, you have to live your life according to your own risk/benefit analysis. For me, this blog represents an acceptable level of risk for the benefit of living out loud. And if you want to hug me and tell me I look great in my jeans - go ahead. I promise not to sue.



Blogger The Unabashed Blogger said...

Most bloggers, such as myself, have little to fear because most of our readers are our friends and family. I think I'd be honored to have someone consider my opinions to be of such importance that they have been deemed offensive to the point of being sued. I mean, they could've stopped reading but my writing style is so addictive!

I've never been sued and I'm pretty sure if someone won a case against me they would take me for all I'm worth... nada. And here I thought blogging was on the boring side! Who needs motorcycles and bungee jumping when we can get our adrenaline kicks on web!


10/13/2008 9:43 AM  
Blogger les said...

What--you thought I was reading for entertainment? I'm just waiting for the big hit...

10/13/2008 9:58 AM  
Anonymous Lance Weber said...

Would liability attach if one referred to BlogInsure as a scam?

I wouldn't call it a scam, but insurance companies only profit if they sell products that most purchasers don't ever use. Private prosecutions for defamation have to be funded with private money so formal litigation is usually a tool of last resort.

I would like to see how much BlogInsure would charge for a policy that covers the cost of defense against governmental prosecution for unpopular opinion.

Bloggers face their biggest danger from do-gooders in government who issue warrants first and ask questions later.

10/13/2008 12:55 PM  
Anonymous Luca said...

Dan if Amy Coffman did not sue your sorry ass for libel then you are probably safe.

You filth.

10/13/2008 8:04 PM  
Blogger Admin Link Insurance said...

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10/22/2008 4:39 AM  

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