Whether bloggers are journalists may be open to debate, and may have interesting and philosophically-important ramifications in the Apple Computer cases, but it is clear that traditional media law applies to bloggers in some way.

Perhaps most importantly for day-to-day blogging is the issue of libel. The Internet has seriously confused matters in the law of defamation. Because producer, publisher and reader of material may be in three separate places, the issue of jurisdiction remains unclear.

OJR yesterday highlighted a Canadian case involving the Washington Post web site that could lead to the worst possible scenario from the point of view of online journalists and bloggers: a world in which anything published anywhere is open to libel suit by anyone anywhere with any internet connection.

See also Dan Gillmor’s recent post about bloggers’ and libel law, in which he points out BusinessWeek’s mistaken notion that bloggers are somehow immune and links to an old but important post by Yale law professor Jack Balkin subject.

This handy guide to blog law by Brian Carroll is also worth a read.