The legal and ethical issues of Web publishing
Publishing is powerful. With words, images and other elements you have the ability to shape opinion, and since you're doing it on the Web, you can potentially shape thousands of opinions around the world. Whether you realize it or not, you have a big responsibility.
When you're starting out it's easy to toss these responsibilities aside because your audience is small. How much harm can you do when no one's paying attention? But as time goes on your readership will grow. If you've been playing fast and loose, it'll be hard to mend your ways when it really matters.
That's why it's important to understand Web publishing's legal and ethical issues from the start. With a sound foundation, you'll be able to make good decisions throughout the life of your site. By doing the right thing time and time again, you'll not only cover yourself legally, you'll also build a tradition of excellence.
You might think the legal and ethical quandaries you're going to face will be complicated. That's not the case. For the most part, the problems that pop up along the way can be overcome through simple legal tests and dedication to your ethical standards.
That being said, let's begin this section with a look at libel.