Potential new law renders travel writers liable for recommending “risky” locations

Proposed state legislation in Hawaii could potentially render guidebook authors personally liable for damage claims if a reader is injured while performing an activity suggested in the guidebook.

The Wall Street Journal writes that “a proposed state law that would hold Hawaii guidebook writers personally liable for deaths or accidents at spots they recommend.” The proposed law has been “watered down to call only for a task force, before dying in a committee. But the bill’s backers pledge to refile it if guidebooks don’t shape up,” the article reports.

The article also pointed to the case of Winter v. G.P. Putnam’s Sons, in which a couple sued a guidebook after becoming critically ill while picking mushrooms. The decision found that a publisher “does not have a duty to act as a guarantor for the contents of all books that it publishes.”

It is likely that First Amendment rights will protect writers and make it exceptionally difficult for any state to pass legislation declaring liability for guidebook suggestions. However, the issue brings up a valid point – we as writers need to realize that our words have actions, and that risks must be discussed in equal parts with the reward.

So often, in describing the positives of a location, we forget the negatives – you need to be in great shape to reach the summit of X mountain, or that pickpockets frequent up-and-coming areas we’re covering as a “best new destination.” Be sure to share the “real” travel experience and remember that your audience is often much less well-traveled than you. Don’t dumb down your content, just be sure to share the risks (and rewards) with equal treatment.

We’d love to hear your opinions – do you think this law has a chance of passing anywhere? Do you think writers should be held responsible for their suggestions?

[Flickr via steakpinball]

Porn industry disgusted by flight attendant side job

“Look, we all have standards,” an adult entertainer familiar with the full- and part-time work of Ryanair flight attendant Edita Schindlerova told The Independent. “I think it’s disgusting that she works for Ryanair. All of us here at Biggus Dickus Productions feel really let down by her. If only she had told us she worked for them, maybe we could have done something to help her. Now, she has lost all our trust. Now, if you don’t mind, I’m off to do a three way.”

If you’ve seen Monty Python’s The Life of Brian, you know not to treat “Biggus Dickus” as a joke name.

While many look down their noses at the porn business, it looks like the airlines are able to give even those in the skin biz someone over which to hold a sense of superiority. Of course, the porn folks could learn a lesson in tolerance from Ryanair, which doesn’t care about Edita’s side job as “Edite Bente.”

If you’re surprised to see the porn industry claim any sort of moral high ground, don’t be. Anyone who has spent a bit of time in this business has had to listen to more than a few hours of First Amendment tirades, claims of wanting to be left alone and so on and so on and so on. Yes, it can get tedious, even though some of it is warranted. Either way, it’s pretty crazy to see the porn industry piss all over the airline business. What happened to “live and let live”?Ryanair flight attendant Schindlerova was recently outed as a part-time porn star by London tabloid The Sun. Her employer doesn’t care, and she hasn’t denied the allegations. She was also featured in the airline’s 2009 calendar, a collection of the sexiest employees that the low-cost carrier has to offer.

Her cover was blown by a pilot who somehow stumbled upon her work. Either this was an incredible coincidence, or this guy, who has not had to see his name in the press, spends a hell of a lot of time cruising the web for porn.

Julia Molony, who covered this story for The Independent, suggests, “Watch out fro the free-orgasm-with-every-flight offer on a billboard near you.” Such naïveté … does she really believe that Ryanair would give “free” anything?

Okay, through some investigative journalism on my part, I’ve been able to find some of her night job work. This is absolutely not safe for work or around children.This is not an adult website, rather it is a Czech tabloid, but do understand that they are able to push the envelope a lot farther than we can in the United States.

See our first story on Schindlerova’s erotic escapades.