The domestic and international blogging communities are increasingly facing lawsuits and threats of legal action, the Christian Science Monitor reported on Wednesday.
Since 2004, there have been 159 civil and criminal court actions revolving around bloggers, according to the nonprofit Media Law Resource Center (MLRC). Bloggers in seven cases have been hit with a cumulative $18.5 million in damages, the Christian Science Monitor said; far more ended with settlements.
"There is a chilling effect of a cease-and-desist letter or a legal threat that claims an aspect of a blogger’s work could lead to liability, even when those claims are not well grounded," Kurt Opsahl of the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, told the Christian Science Monitor.
Worldwide, 64 bloggers have been arrested since 2003. The newspaper cited the World Information Access report, published last month by the University of Washington, saying that Egypt, China, and Iran initiated more than half of those arrests.
The United States arrested two bloggers during that time; the paper reported that here, bloggers are challenged more often in the civil arena than in the criminal.