I have heard many times about fellow bloggers complaining that their writings have been claimed by others as their own works. And I believe that they have every reason to complain, not only because they have used their thoughts, time and energy to do the writing, but also because the Copyright Law protect them from such kind of action.
However, the judges of a state appeals court in California, U.S.A, seemed to think differently when they recently passed a verdict regarding a posting in the social networking site MySpace.com.
In this regards, Legal Blog Watch quoted an article in SFGate.com saying that the case dates back to October 2005 when Cynthia Moreno returned from a visit to her hometown of Coalinga, Calif., and ranted about the community in her online journal. She removed the posting six days later, but in the interim, Roger Campbell, principal of Coalinga High School, downloaded the entry and gave it to a friend, the editor of the Coalinga Record, who soon published it as a letter to the editor. Following the publication, Moreno's sister and parents, who still lived in Coalinga, received death threats and a shot was fired at their home. Eventually, the threats drove them out of town and forced Moreno's father to shut down a 20-year-old family business.
Moreno and her family sued the newspaper and the principal for intentional infliction of emotional distress and invasion of privacy. The appeals court let stand the emotion distress claims, but dismissed the invasion of privacy action, finding that Moreno's posting "made her article available to any person with a computer and thus opened it to the public eye."
The above court's verdict makes us realize what sort of risk we take (to our privacy) when we are writing online.