Don't let anyone tell you that launching a website is easy. It isn't. After several false starts and a lot of time spent trolling the Drupal community site (I'll talk more about Drupal in a later post), we are ready to put this out to the world, in beta form at least. Let's just say it has been a learning experience, which I guess is apropos because that is what this site, and the Citizen Media Law Project, are about: learning.
First off, we want to learn from you. We want to know what questions you want to have answered. Are you interested in knowing how to respond to a threatening letter from a lawyer who claims your site contains copyrighted material? Do you want to know how to minimize the risks of defamation? Or perhaps how to use the Freedom of Information Act to get documents from a federal agency?
Well, we are working on putting together a detailed legal guide that will cover these questions and more. But I am sure we haven't thought of everything, so I'd love to hear your suggestions and comments. You can put them in your comments to this post or use our contact form.
Hopefully the learning will flow both ways. Over the next month or so we'll be putting up portions of our legal guide, which covers everything from how to form a business to how to deal with election laws. We are also working on building a database of legal threats, including relevant lawsuits, subpoenas, and other legal threats directed at citizen media creators. If you have been on the receiving end of a legal threat or know someone who has, please let us know so we can include it in the database.
And, in case you were wondering, the database and legal guide (just like everything else we are doing), will be publicly accessible, searchable, and open for commenting. We want to build a community of people who are interested in facilitating citizen participation in online media and in protecting the legal rights of those engaged in speech on the Internet. The only way to do this is to make this a conversation.......which can start right now.