Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Netiquette IQ Blog Of 11/23/16 - Some Legal Aspects Of Netiquette

The blog post below is from my book, Netiquette IQ . . ., which is described below. Many people think of legal aspects on the Internet as non-existent when it comes to intellectual property. The same holds true for the presumption of privacy. This blog post hopefully will assist in clarifying these issues.

Good Netiquette to all!


My original response was to sue her for defamation of character but then I realized I had no character.
—Charles Barkley

        Books, articles, and papers have long been covered by copyright protection. Email is also considered to have copyright protection but by its very nature opens the door to more extensive and common abuse. Since email is a form of electronic media, it can be massively distributed, forwarded, duplicated, and posted. Since it is a creative work—a medium of expression—you retain the copyright interest in anything you send. For example, if you send someone an email that is copied, the email is pulled down from the a server., saved and then pasted elsewhere.  If this is done without permission, it is not legal.
        However, there is a general consensus that the above does not apply when posting on the Internet. By sending you an email, I have no reason to assume that it is going to be posted on your site. Therefore, most likely, the implied license  will not cover that. To clarify, an email recipient does not have an inherent right to copy or post an email. Those issues have to be taken case by case.  Here is a brief overview of the differences among patents, trademarks and copyrights.  A patent is a tangible manifestation of an idea and not the idea alone.  This can be the NetiquetteIQ test.  (See  A trademark is a symbol, often a logo of a product.  See the NetiquetteIQ logo on this books’ cover.  A copyright is the expression of an idea through a medium such as NetquitteIQ software.

Email privacy

        The privacy issue is much more complex than issues of copyright[ and, unfortunately, cannot be completely answered here. The right to privacy greatly depends upon five things:
  1. The laws of the state(s) involved
  2. What was in the email
  3. What information was posted
  4. Whether or not the person who sent the email is a public figure
  5. The illegality potential
One certainty here is that a person who thrusts him- or herself into the public spotlight—for example, by running a site or introducing themselves into a major controversy—has fewer privacy protections than a regular citizen. This is not to say it would not be a privacy violation to post something from a public figure; it would just be a harder privacy case to make. The real issue is what is in the email and what is posted. If it is a rave review for a restaurant, that is much different than posting a secret on someone. The bottom line is, whether it is an invasion of privacy or a very sensitive issue.
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In addition to this blog, Netiquette IQ has a website with great assets which are being added to on a regular basis. I have authored the premiere book on Netiquette, “Netiquette IQ - A Comprehensive Guide to Improve, Enhance and Add Power to Your Email". My new book, “You’re Hired! Super Charge Your Email Skills in 60 Minutes. . . And Get That Job!” has just been published and will be followed by a trilogy of books on Netiquette for young people. You can view my profile, reviews of the book and content excerpts at:

Anyone who would like to review the book and have it posted on my blog or website, please contact me

In addition to this blog, I maintain a radio show on BlogtalkRadio  and an online newsletter via have established Netiquette discussion groups with Linkedin and  Yahoo I am also a member of the International Business Etiquette and Protocol Group and Minding Manners among others. I regularly consult for the Gerson Lehrman Group, a worldwide network of subject matter experts and I have been contributing to the blogs Everything Email and emailmonday . My work has appeared in numerous publications and I have presented to groups such as The Breakfast Club of NJ and  PSG of Mercer County, NJ.

Additionally, I am the president of Tabula Rosa Systems, a “best of breed” reseller of products for communications, email, network management software, security products and professional services.  Also, I am the president of Netiquette IQ. We are currently developing an email IQ rating system, Netiquette IQ, which promotes the fundamentals outlined in my book.

Over the past twenty-five years, I have enjoyed a dynamic and successful career and have attained an extensive background in IT and electronic communications by selling and marketing within the information technology marketplace.