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Business Liability Insurance?

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by Rho Delta, Sep 2, 2014.

  1. Rho Delta

    Rho Delta Well-Known Member

    Does anyone know of insurance companies in the USA that offer business liability insurance for companies that run forums? I just tried to get a policy at the Hartford but they won't insure forums because of the unpredictable nature of user submitted content.

    Thanks for any tips!
  2. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Any particular reason you need liability insurance?
  3. Rho Delta

    Rho Delta Well-Known Member

    My forum site is very lightly moderated. I don't want to be held responsible for my users posts for like copyright infringement for images or anything like that.
  4. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    The first thing is to get a good T & C which disclaims your responsibilty. However I understand that in may jurisdictions any owner of a moderated forum, however lightly moderated, is at risk of being held responsible purely because the forum is moderatable.

    There was some kind of a legal test case on this, I'll try to find it.

    This is a good question.
    ForestForTrees likes this.
  5. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Most countries have laws in place to protect site owners from user content, as long as you take reasonable steps (eg if someone sends you a copyright notice, you take the content down)
  6. JoeSchmoe

    JoeSchmoe Member

    I'd be very interested in reading this, @Mr Lucky. It may vary by country, but my understanding was that in the US, this was not the case.

    In the US, I've heard that we get enormous protection from Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act. Wikipedia has some great background on it:

    My understanding was that prior to the section 230 of the CDA, doing any moderation could get you into trouble because then you became more of a "publisher" (i.e. responsible for the content) rather than just a carrier (which is not responsible, just as UPS won't generally be held responsible for copyrighted materials shipped via their services). The authors of the CDA were concerned that internet service providers wouldn't police porn on their sites because of this, so they added sweeping language into the CDA to protect us from responsibility even if we do moderate:

    [As a side note, just for fun, it looks like the important 1995 case, mentioned above, involved Stratton Oakmont, the pump and dump boiler room featured in the recent Scorsese film, The Wolf of Wall Street. I guess someone called Stratton Oakmont out on a Prodigy board and Prodigy got sued. Section 230 of the CDA was designed to prevent things like that. The internet was super hot and congress didn't want the legal system to have a chilling effect on the internet boom in the US]

    Anyway, I'm not a lawyer, so I'm not offering legal advice, but my understanding is that section 230 offers some pretty strong protection. Clearly, as Slavik mentions, you'll want to take reasonable actions such as responding to requests.

    Anyone else have any thoughts on this? Did I goof up any of my facts?

    Also, what about international concerns? I've been talking about US law, but I have no idea about other countries. Is this stupid of me? Do we have to worry about suits that originate in other countries where the laws are different?
  7. Mr Lucky

    Mr Lucky Well-Known Member

    ForestForTrees likes this.
  8. ForestForTrees

    ForestForTrees Well-Known Member

    Those are terrific links. I don't think that they support your contention, though. The relevant language from the first article is:
    I'll note that under this definition, most forums would be considered unmoderated because the vast majority of posts aren't moderated before or shortly after they are posted.

    In comparison, Rho Delta and you wrote:
    Based on the first quote above, the test doesn't seem to be whether the forum is moderatable, but rather whether it is, in fact, moderated either before content appears or shortly thereafter. Perhaps claims regarding whether the site is moderated may also be taken into account.

    After all, one could argue that all websites are "moderatable" in that in the end the owners have control over the code. As long as we control the code, it is just a question of how much time and money we are accountable for investing in moderation. If a country held all sites responsible for all UGC infractions, most UGC would grind to a halt.
  9. dethfire

    dethfire Well-Known Member

    My sister who is an IP attorney has been begging me to get BLI. She always tells me that anyone can sue for any reason. If they have big pockets or if I do slip up somehow, I personally or my business could go down the tank in the blink of an eye.
    ForestForTrees likes this.

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