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Paleo Blogger Needs a License to Blog, NC Says

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By Andrew Lu on August 10, 2012 6:49 AM

Paleo blogger/cave man dieter Steve Cooksey, was told by North Carolina officials that he did not have a license to give dieting advice. As a result, Cooksey had the choice of either not blogging or steering clear of giving individualized advice.

In this age of blogging and reaching out to consumers via social media, having a personal connection with a potential customer has been a key feature of marketing.

As many small businesses have taken to blogging, the notice given to Cooksey is particular troubling as businesses may be left wondering what is, and is not, allowed.

On Steve Cooksey's site, he shared his experience overcoming diabetes by taking on a self-described caveman diet -- eating lots of meats and greens, with no bread or pasta. Along with sharing his experiences, Cooksey also wrote a Dear Abby-style advice column where he would give specific advice to people, reports The New York Times.

It is this personal advice that got the attention of North Carolina officials. In that state, it is illegal to assess and give counseling about nutrition to individuals without a license. So the state asked Cooksey to stop.

In response, Cooksey filed a lawsuit against the state arguing that his free speech rights were violated. He said that he is simply engaging in the exchange of ideas and such communications cannot be criminalized, reports the Times.

The results of Steve Cooksey's license to blog lawsuit could have far-reaching impact on businesses that blog. For example, a shoe store that gives recommendations on shoes for certain activities could presumably be giving health advice and an accountant that blogs about changes to tax law could presumably be giving accounting advice. 

If a court agrees with North Carolina that this paleo blogger overstepped its bounds, many other businesses may have to reevaluate what it is they blog.

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