A colleague sent me the link to an article in Inc. Magazine entitled, “Don’t Let Your Blog Get You in Trouble” and I think it’s a must read for any blogger and/or person who operates a content driven website. The article covers a number of guidelines to managing risks when publishing content on a website.
For many (including myself), having articles written for various websites is par for the course. Although many domain investors are experts in one field or another, we aren’t necessarily experts in the fields that our websites cover. Because of this, we may (I do) use content writers like Textbroker.com and others to produce good content for our websites. We must remember that we are most likely responsible for the content they write and we publish.
When you are buying an article from a content writer, or when you hire someone to publish articles on your website, the content is generally your responsibility. I would recommend reading all articles before posting (should be a given), and if there are facts or figures mentioned, expect the writer to provide the source. You may wish to ask for permission to share that information, and at the very least, link to the source of the information.
Many writers, bloggers, and companies are protective of their intellectual property, which includes content, case studies, and other information that is shared online. They have lawyers who may email you and nicely ask you to take something down or they could threaten legal action.
The bottom line is that you may be responsible for the things you post (depending greatly on what is posted), so you should be aware of the law – both criminal and civil. The Inc. Magazine article has some good information that you should read if you are developing websites.