Does XenForo enable preventing users uploading all types of files to avoid potential legal trouble?

#1
I think I have the answer to this legal problem, but I have insufficient privileges to post in this thread:

Potential chilling effect on using moderators

However, my proposed solution to this legal problem does form the basis for a pre-sales question:

So to preface, here is my answer to the legal problem posed in that thread: the solution appears to be that all you have to do is enable the forum software to not allow anyone to upload any type of file at all. Enable forum publishers to only allow members to link to files on other sites, or to add typical video embed code. Would this not solve the issue of potential legal liability posed by that thread? And that leads to this pre-sales question:

Is Xenforo currently equipped for this - to enable preventing users from uploading any type of file at all so as to avoid the possibility of improperly uploading copyrighted material?

I realize there is still the issue of adding copyrighted text, but this is a start.
 
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Anthony Parsons

Well-known member
#3
I've always been pretty strict with copyright at my main site, but I have stepped it up to avoid all future issues, including text. We don't allow lyrics, poems, na da, that is not the posters original content in which they have the authority to provide us the license to use that content.

I have concluded that having moderators is far better than trying the ignorance route, as a community will turn to crap super fast with spammers and such, then users move away and it all dies. Moderators make a community usable... between users reporting content and moderators checking it for copyright and removing anything mildly infringing, it becomes a very scarce issue.

We had a bible quotes thread in our social area, a long one, it got removed. Members argued that bible verse aren't copyright. Fail. Bibles are copyright by publishers and/or churches, which means the copyright is corporate, and renewed, thus enforceable. That makes versus hundreds or thousands of years old, still copyright by corporate entities today. There is a free bible that is reproducible, but people are stuck in their ways wanting to use their own. Argh!

People try the "fair use" route, yet that is total nonsense and will not stand-up in court. There was a case where a site quoted a single paragraph from a book. The publisher took them to court and won. They won because the publisher proved that that one paragraph was the essence of the entire book. The infringer had to pay damages.

Fair use is a fairytale and will not protect you.

I think people are very misguided, delusional even, about copyright law and just how much trouble they could be in. You do not need to warn with a DMCA or such if your work is infringed and specifically if the page contains advertising or monetisation that the page owner is being rewarded. This even includes high traffic pages with no ads, if there are ads elsewhere, as it can be demonstrated that infringing content brings in traffic, guides users elsewhere to monetised content.

The research myself and staff did on this over the past months blew my mind. We tightened our existing copyright policies much further. We only allow premium members to upload content to the site, all others can only link it. Again, we have human eyes on all text. Our problem at present is removing existing copyright text... which we're slowly finding and removing.

It was all only a matter of time before people started taking back control of their content across the Internet. Images was first -- people think they can reuse any image online for some naive reason. Writers are now stepping up their efforts to reclaim their original content that is infringed and monetised.
 
#4
Thanks for these posts all. I must say Anthony, while I much appreciate your expansive and excellent post, it does leaving me feeling rather even more discouraged that I was already. Even more so realizing you have been dealing with this all the way over in Australia no less. What to do...
 

Mr Lucky

Well-known member
#5
So to preface, here is my answer to the legal problem posed in that thread: the solution appears to be that all you have to do is enable the forum software to not allow anyone to upload any type of file at all.
This is not really a solution as it would also stop legal uploads, and so have a negative effect on the forum content and community. Throwing the bathwater out with the baby.

It makes sense however for posts or edits to posts with attachments to automatically go into moderation. It does beg the question of whether mods are equipped to know what is copyright and what isn't.

People try the "fair use" route, yet that is total nonsense and will not stand-up in court.
Fair use can be used as a defence, and I think may or may not succeed. That doesn't mean it can be used as an excuse by forum members (who are not IP lawyers) to upload all their memes and cover songs to your site willy nilly.
 
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#6
It makes sense however for posts or edits to posts with attachments to automatically go into moderation. It does beg the question of whether mods are equipped to know what is copyright and what isn't.
For me that is just too big a burden. But I have already had to deal with a forum where you could not upload a file, but you could embed a link to an image hosted elsewhere. There is even have a site for doing that, for uploading images to link to from forums.

As far as a solution goes, after thinking about this further it really seems to me that the only real solution is if the court case is victorious in asserting the DMCA protection despite the current set back and return from the appellate to the lower court. The whole thing is still pending.
 
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