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BizReport : Blogs & Content archives : August 07, 2007

Bloggers will soon be protected by US laws

The much-maligned commercial bloggers will soon have the support of the US government. Despite some wanting bloggers to have no protections, the US Congress is set to put the Free Flow of Information Act into motion.

by Kristina Knight

The act is said to protect commercial bloggers - those who receive money from advertisers when they blog - from revealing their sources in many cases.

The key here is the use of "commercial" and "non-commercial" when referring to bloggers. Commercial bloggers are reimbursed for their time spent blogging by advertisers and sponsors. Non-commercial bloggers are those who blog simply for the love of the medium and do not receive any type of compensation. However, even a blog which receives a minute amount of money from programs like AdSense are considered commercial.

The bill considers bloggers a type of journalist; journalists are already protected from revealing their sources by US law.

"To extend the shield beyond (those who gain financial benefit) would create an avenue for virtually anyone to avoid compelled testimony by simply creating a blog that contains the information in question," said Rick Boucher (D-VA). He went on to say that was not the purpose behind the bill.

Others don't agree with the broad language of the bill. Virtually anyone "could start a blog and request advertising on that blog, and whether they get it or not, would be considered a journalist under this bill," said Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA). Those who don't like the bill's language note that there should be some kind of financial gain standard, a minimum amount of money made from a blog, for that blogger to be considered a journalist.

Tags: bloggers, paid bloggers

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