Joshua Allen

Joshua Allen makes some really great points about the fact that many companies to have a “don't ask, don't tell, and please for the love of God don't do anything stupid” attitude related to blogs.  There is actually good reason for this:  By suggesting that employee blogs might be “officially sanctioned”, or by in some way acknowledging that the corporation benefits from the blog, the company is arguably exposing itself to claims that it is contributorily and/or vicariously liable for any injuries the employee-bloggers cause. 

By providing the employee resources and active support related to blogs, if the blogger is ultimately sued for libel, the plaintiff may very well claim that the corporation is also liable … not a totally specious position.  It makes sense to me that Sam keeps his blog separate, and it has been fascinating to watch Microsoft either explicitly or tacitly permitting the company's direct hosting of so many employee blogs.

I'd love to know their official position on these issues, since they clearly have an extremely talented legal staff that could provide leadership in this dimension.  I am surely not a lawyer .. just an employer and (personally) a blogger.  I've only been pondering this since fall of 2001, with my corporate legal, communications, and HR staff, trying to do what seems prudent within my own organization, understanding that employees will indeed blog, yet also trying to keep a line drawn between their actvities and the company's.  It'll be quite interesting over time to see how our legal system ultimately sorts this out. [Ray Ozzie's Weblog]

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