Used to be that a blogger’s biggest concern was deciding whether to change out of their pajamas for the day. But now that some of.., um us… are in real businesses, making real money, we are also legitimate targets for libel suits: The Citizen Media Law Projects says civil suits against bloggers have grown from 4 cases in 1997 to 89 last year.
Now something called the Media Bloggers Association is offering what its says is the first libel insurance policy for bloggers, which offers “coverage for all forms of defamation, invasion of privacy and copyright infringement or similar allegations arising out of blogging activities.” Previously bloggers who wanted protection from these claims had to purchase media liability insurance policies aimed at old media — typically for $1500 a year or more. The terms for “BlogInsure” are generally a lot more attractive: premiums start at $450 per year for $300,000 in protection (on a max of $100,000 for any given lawsuit).
But perhaps the bigger gripe for most bloggers isn’t trouble finding libel insurance — it’s difficulty securing health insurance. Don’t expect a blanket solution to that problem — each state was its own Byzantine set of rules governing access to health care, but organisations like the Freelancers Union have made inroads in securing group rates for the self-employed.