Fandom privacy: Your journal entries are not private

April 12th, 2009 by Laura Leave a reply »

Some parts of fandom treat LiveJournal, InsaneJournal and other public postings on journaling sites as private content. The rational is that this public content is published online for a small select audience, for a group of friends, intended only to stay inside a specific fannish community. When that public information gets shared in public, people can sometimes get really huffy. Witness the most recent case involving coffeeandink during Race Fail 2009.

Sometimes, we need a really good reminder that what you put out there in public, even if it is shared in the context of the fan community, is public. Today’s reminder comes from a court ruling involving MySpace. WebProNews summarizes it as follows:

A California court has ruled that a high school principal who sent a copy of a MySpace journal posting to a local newspaper is not liable for invasion of privacy.

The court ruled that Moreno gave up any claims of privacy when she posted the writing on MySpace. “Cynthia’s affirmative act made her article available to any person with a computer and thus opened it to the public eye,” the court said. “Under these circumstances, no reasonable person would have had an expectation of privacy regarding the published material.”

So when you’re posting online, in fandom or not, always remember that content posted publicly is not a violation of privacy and take appropriate steps to protect yourself.

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  • I'm reminded of the woman who tried to sell her Star Wars fanfic online, claiming that it was okay because only a handful of people knew about it--though she put it up for sale on amazon.com.

    Some people's kids, j0.

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