17 Nov 2009

Legal issues?

November 17, 2009 501A, assignments 1 Comment

There should be no legal or policy issues with the site as it is right now. All owner-posted content will be original and will be marked and protected as such.

However, one of the features being considered for the site are more community-oriented ones, which do bring forward some of these ownership issues. In a bulletin board, who owns uploaded information? And who is responsible? One way to deal with that is to insert language into a registration agreement (that is, all users who wish to participate in a bulletin board or forum hosted on the site must register for an account with a working email address, which is pretty standard practice) or before comments on site content (with a requirement to submit an email address before comments are allowed to appear) that says something like this:

We respect intellectual property. Please do not upload or share any information that violates anyone’s intellectual property, including but not limited to copyrights and trademarks. (Please cite your sources.) Please know that if you submit original content, you still own it, but in doing so you’re giving us the right to use and modify this content as we choose without compensation or notification.

Please behave like a functional human being. That is, no spam, no libel, no abuse, no harassment. Comments won’t be moderated, but we will try to address reasonable complaints and any consequences will have little, if any, recourse. (By which we mean, act like an adult and you won’t get banned.) We take no responsibility for anything users say or do on our site, and our users don’t necessarily reflect our opinions. But we still love them.

All of which is pretty standard CYA for site owners who host comments and user-generated content.

One Response to “Legal issues?”

  1. Alex H. says:

    This seems like a classic case where you need to really clearly state that you will comply with DMCA takedown notices and indicate where to send them. You can say “we take no responsibility,” but that doesn’t get you out of trouble on its own. You can try to blame the users, but when it comes right down to it, as the host, it’s your feet (and other extremities) that will be put to the fire.