Questions regarding the legality of copying and pasting threads from other forums?

PumpinIron

Active member
#1
Okay, so this one hit me as a shock today.

Some guy signed-up for my forum (https://wranglertjforum.com) and sent me a private message (conversation). He told me that a number of the posts in the "How-to" section of my site were copied and pasted from his site without due credit.

I responded to him and told him first and foremost to view this thread:
https://wranglertjforum.com/threads/see-a-thread-that-belongs-to-you.207/

I mentioned to him that a lot of people on the forum may copy and paste info from another forum (or site), since that often times happens when you're running a forum. I told him that I would happily give him credit (and a link to the original content) on any of these posts, as no one had any intention of profiting off the information, it was just there to help.

In addition to that, I explained to him that I wasn't the one who copied and pasted his content, it was a number of other forum members, who were simply trying to be helpful.

Still, he refused to accept it and asked that I remove the content.

I'm very disappointed since a lot of this content was very helpful, and it's a shame that this guy is being so stingy about it.

Either way, I proceeded to go through the forum and remove all of the content he claimed as his own.

My question to you guys, is what do you do in a situation like this? First and foremost, I want to protect myself and my forum.

I can't stop people from copying and pasting stuff, none of us can. I can moderate stuff 24/7/, but I have no way of knowing what content is copied and pasted, and what isn't.

So what are you guys doing to protect yourself? Is there any sort of legal disclaimer or legal text I can have on my forum that will state that neither I or my forum is responsible for things that other people might happen to copy and paste?

I'm just trying to watch out for myself in the future. The last thing I want is someone filing a lawsuit and trying to sue me or my forum for stuff that other members posted.

Surely there has to be some sort of legal wording I can use that protects me. With all the huge forums out there, you'd think that this wouldn't be the first time something like this has happened!
 

OperaManiac

Well-known member
#2
From my understanding, the law would change from one country to another. For websites with user generated content, you would need to check your local laws about how you are affected by content posted by others on your forum. Here in India, WhatsApp group admins have been held liable for content shared by others so I have to personally play it safe as running a forum is similar to running a publicly open WhatsApp group.
 

PumpinIron

Active member
#3
Interesting. I'm in the United States, and the research I've done on Google so far seems to suggest that I would not be responsible for the content that others might post. However, that begs the question, am I still responsible if I don't take content down that someone reposted, after being notified of it?

I just want to bring to light whether we are forum owners here in the United States can get in legal trouble for content that others users copy and paste.
 

PumpinIron

Active member
#5
I've run into this before going both ways. I have asked to have material taken down, and I have been asked to remove content on my site.

I have never argued with someone who wanted their material removed. In a few cases I have made deals to keep the content.



http://www.patent-trademark-law.com...wn-stolen-content/cease-desist-dmca-takedown/

http://www.writeessentials.com/how-to-protect-your-marketing-copywriting-under-the-copyright-laws/
That's my standpoint too. I am happy to remove someones content if they ask. This guy was just incredibly rude about it and could have gone about it in a much more pleasant way instead of making threats right off the bat.

When you say "deals", I assume you offered them some sort of financial kickback in most cases?
 

rickhz

Active member
#6
That's my standpoint too. I am happy to remove someones content if they ask. This guy was just incredibly rude about it and could have gone about it in a much more pleasant way instead of making threats right off the bat.

When you say "deals", I assume you offered them some sort of financial kickback in most cases?
Yes, or even a banner ad for their business.
 

wedgar

Well-known member
#8
Interesting. I'm in the United States, and the research I've done on Google so far seems to suggest that I would not be responsible for the content that others might post. However, that begs the question, am I still responsible if I don't take content down that someone reposted, after being notified of it?

I just want to bring to light whether we are forum owners here in the United States can get in legal trouble for content that others users copy and paste.
It might be worth checking with an attorney to find out what your obligation would be?
 

Kirby

Well-known member
#9
Unfortunatley there is only one 100% safe way to keep yourself from risking to get sued for content on a website you operate:
Don't operate a website :)

Legal issues are simply part of our business, you can't fully avoid them, though for most plaintiffs it's enough to simply take down content (if that is reasonable) after being notified that it's illegal.
 
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