Author of Blogging and Tweeting Without Getting Sued, Professor Mark Pearson from Bond University, will host his first public forum in Queensland following the release of his book this Thursday, May 3 at the Brisbane Powerhouse.
The forum will explore the legalities of social media, in particular blogging and tweeting, through the discussion of recent research and case studies that serve as both cautionary tales and best practice examples.
Professor Pearson says whether you host a celebrity Facebook page, tweet about a hobby, or like to think of yourself as a citizen journalist, you need to keep on the right side of cyberlaw to avoid landing yourself in legal trouble.
“The internet has defied everything we know about jurisdiction of the law – there are no boundaries. Every time you blog or tweet you many be subject to the laws of more than 200 jurisdictions,” said Professor Pearson.
“These days, nearly everyone is technically a publisher and we’ve seen many ordinary individuals get into trouble because of what they’ve posted online.
“It’s especially important for organisations with a social media presence to be aware of the risks.
“The biggest risk to an employee who posts something inappropriate is that they may lose their job; but the cost to the institution that they represent could be much higher – and not just in legal fees, the social cost can be enormous too,” said Professor Pearson.
A media law expert, Professor Pearson drew on more than 30 years of experience and research to write his book.
“I wanted to use my years of research into media law and the way in which it relates to the social media environment and share it with more people,” he said.
“Cyberspace is becoming an increasingly litigious place.
“It has long been established that people are liable for defamation online – there have been several defamation cases in Australia to do with twitter, blogging and email – but people are starting to find themselves on the wrong side of the law in other areas, such as contempt of court, breach of state regulations for identifying minors, copyright infringement and bullying.
“My biggest surprise in researching the book was people’s ignorance of the risks attached to what is effectively publishing,” said Professor Pearson.
Professor Pearson is Professor of Journalism at Bond University and has researched and worked in the media and media law for over 30 years. He has worked for The Australian, had articles published in Wall Street Journal and the Far Eastern Economic Review, and is the author of The Journalist's Guide to Media Law and most recently Blogging and Tweeting Without Getting Sued.