True crime is not a new obsession. For decades there have been movies, documentaries, and television shows that cover true crime events. Several authors have built their entire careers by writing about true crime.
The difference between now and even just ten years ago is that it’s suddenly possible for the average person to start discussing true crime in popular forums. Several people such as Bailey Sarian, Kendell Ray, and Eleanor Neale have created huge followings and made a career out of discussing true crime cases with the public.
If you’re tempted to jump on the true crime bandwagon it’s important that you understand that discussing true crime in blogs, podcasts, videos, and social media posts is vastly different than discussing the same topic with friends and family.
First, if you’re going to discuss a true crime case in a public forum, it’s extremely important that you get your facts straight and you only report what is known to be the truth. If you watch the top true crime buffs talk about a case, you’ll notice that they are very careful to say when they are speculating and when they’re reporting facts. If you say that someone who hasn’t officially been convicted of a crime is guilty, you face a potential slander lawsuit.
Be very careful about posting copywritten material. Several true crime enthusiasts have gotten in trouble for posting statements, newspaper clippings, snatches of interviews/documentaries, etc. The issue is that the true crime aficionado assumed that the content was public property when it was in fact someone else’s intellectual property. Posting intellectual property is grounds for a copyright infringement lawsuit.
In addition to being very careful about not violating any copyright infringement laws, you need to make sure you cite all of your sources. Not only does this lend credence to your version of the events, but it also protects you if someone suddenly tries to claim that intellectual property you’ve put together was actually their property.
You must be respectful. The types of cases that attract true crime buffs like yourself usually have many people attached to the case. Both the victim and the accused have friends and family who love them very much. Many of these people are discussed in true crime podcasts/videos. It’s important that you respect their privacy and that you don’t do or say anything that they could consider disrespectful, or worse, slanderous.