Working Paper No. 07-27:
Regulation of Blog Campaign Advocacy on the Internet: Comparing U.S., German and EU Approaches

Author(s):

Allison Hayward

Date Posted: 2007

Availability:
Abstract (below) |

Abstract:

This essay examines how U.S., Germany, and EU cases have treated the regulation of political commentary on the Internet. As political blogging grows in popularity, the reach of these sites, and their influence in political campaigns, may make them a target for regulation by rivals and incumbents, both at home and abroad. Since ordinarily any URL can be reached from anywhere with Internet access, conflicting domestic rules about what can be said (and who can say it) present potential for conflicting rules on blogging.

In brief, U.S. law protects blogging content, but may impose restrictions on the source of political commentary by barring certain funding sources. German law imposes stricter limits on the content of blogging, but does not regulate financial sources to the same degree. European court rulings may offer greater protection than domestic German law, but seem inconsistent and thus add uncertainty and ambiguity to the situation. In the end, bloggers may avoid legal entanglement because they enjoy public sympathy and support, but better still would be an international agreement to spare blogging from prosecution.