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Resource Manager & Copyright Or Legal Issues?

TheBigK

Well-known member
#1
One of our members raised an important point about the copyrighted material being shared through our resources manager. We let people share engineering related material, free eBooks and tutorials.

While I've studied the DMCA and have read a ton of stuff on how copyright protection works - I wish to know if there can be issues where we as a company can get sued or be held responsible for the content being shared through our website?

What are the steps we should take to cover our a$$?
 

Neal

Well-known member
#2
Link directly to the original download/website where you can download the files from?

EDIT: What I mean is, direct to their download link so nothing is on your server.
 

Fufu

Well-known member
#3
As long as the works can be redistributed and the original work has been given credit, there is no chance of copyright infringement.
 

TheBigK

Well-known member
#4
Well, I'm wondering if we as a provider of the service can be held responsible if copyrighted material gets shared through our website? I think the whole responsibilities goes to the uploader, right?

Should we update our ToS to reflect that?

I'm curious to know how do Google Drive, online file sharing services, youTube and others protect themselves from legal kicks?
 

Fufu

Well-known member
#5
Well, I'm wondering if we as a provider of the service can be held responsible if copyrighted material gets shared through our website? I think the whole responsibilities goes to the uploader, right?

Should we update our ToS to reflect that?

I'm curious to know how do Google Drive, online file sharing services, youTube and others protect themselves from legal kicks?
They remove the content on the owner's request. A formal letter will be sent to remove the content before any legal action is taken.
 

TheBigK

Well-known member
#6
They remove the content on the owner's request. A formal letter will be sent to remove the content before any legal action is taken.
So that's about it? We offer to do the same in case someone sends us notice. Does that mean we're safe?
 

Ingenious

Well-known member
#7
There must be some liability on the site owner otherwise the music and film industry wouldn't be going after sites the way they are.

Yes it would be good to get some clarification on this issue.

There is a misconception though that "crediting" or linking to the original source or website means copyright is not infringed. This is just rubbish.

I think commonsense would suggest an approach similar to libel - that you disclaim responsibility for what your users do, but always respond to complaints or takedowns as soon as possible. Also ensure your T&C specifically requests people do not infringe copyright (thus putting the onus on the uploaders).
 

Fufu

Well-known member
#8
So that's about it? We offer to do the same in case someone sends us notice. Does that mean we're safe?
Any author or entity will inform, make it known, first that it is in their best interest to protect their work. If after the formal legal letter is ignored, then the original content creator has the rights to pursue further legal action, which can be in the form of claiming damages and lost profits.
 

Slavik

XenForo moderator
Staff member
#9
So that's about it? We offer to do the same in case someone sends us notice. Does that mean we're safe?
The answer is "it depends", mostly on the laws of your country.

For example, here in the UK, forum owners are pretty well protected under the guise of "service providers" as long as they offer "due dilligence" and comply with any valid takedown requests received.
 

Mike Edge

Well-known member
#10
Think back to Dec 4th of last year when xF was offline for over 12 hours. That was all caused simply by a 3rd party mod released in the RM.
 

Ingenious

Well-known member
#11
Any author or entity will inform, make it known, first that it is in their best interest to protect their work. If after the formal legal letter is ignored, then the original content creator has the rights to pursue further legal action, which can be in the form of claiming damages and lost profits.
I don't think I agree with this. If someone's copyright is infringed they are perfectly able to go straight to legal action and sue for compensation or damages. The reason most people don't is down to time/costs/effort.
 

Fufu

Well-known member
#12
I don't think I agree with this. If someone's copyright is infringed they are perfectly able to go straight to legal action and sue for compensation or damages. The reason most people don't is down to time/costs/effort.
No, the copyright owner or entity must notify the infringing party first.

Add: They must outline what they are protecting and how before performing any legal actions. One cannot just sue without proper documentation showing that they did not take any steps into protecting their intellectual property.
 

Ingenious

Well-known member
#13
No, the copyright owner or entity must notify the infringing party first.

Add: They must outline what they are protecting and how before performing any legal actions. One cannot just sue without proper documentation showing that they did not take any steps into protecting their intellectual property.
No they don't. If I produce some photographs and someone uses these in a book without my permission for example, I don't need to show any sort of "steps I took to protect intellectual property" I can just sue. My original work is my copyright by default. It does not need "steps" to protect it. If someone steals it I can take direct legal action if I want. Obviously I would have to prove to the court that I am the copyright holder (by way of having the original images and so on).
 

erich37

Well-known member
#16
IIRC, it was some sort of javascript within the mod that was from code canyon and was not allowed to be redistrub in other products.
well, I am just wondering if it can take down my own RM if some user uploads some strange files (not sure which file-extension might harm the system) ?
 

BirdOPrey5

Well-known member
#17
It's a tricky legal situation.

Under the provisions of the DMCA (If you are US based) the copyright holder is supposed to file a complaint with you, and if you act quickly to take down the infringing work and prevent repeat offenders you should be OK.

However in the USA you can sue over anything. A few years back a company called RightHaven LLC was suing sites without filing DMCA complaints first. Dozens, maybe hundreds, of small time forum and blog owners settled rather than go to court and lost their forums and thousands of dollars. Eventually some people did fight back (IB even) and a judge told RightHaven they had no rights to sue, but damage was done and most people don't have tens of thousands or more to defend themselves.

Supposedly you need to have a Copyright Agent to be fully protected by DMCA. Otherwise you can be sued directly.


Legally there is no difference if something is uploaded in Resource Manager or just an attachment in any other post.
 

Jason

Well-known member
#18
I'm curious to know how do Google Drive, online file sharing services, youTube and others protect themselves from legal kicks?
Through the DMCA safe harbor provisions, a competent legal team and building systems that allow copyright owners to easily take action on offending content. You're much better off seeking legal advice from an actual attorney than us arm chair lawyers, if it's something you're really concerned about.
 

TheBigK

Well-known member
#19
Thank you everyone for your suggestions and comments. I started this thread because I believe it'd be an important issue to consider to all of us who're using resources manager. Technically anything shared via forum and through resource manager is the same. On the forums, our mods make sure that nothing 'illegal' gets done because they can read stuff and take action. Plus members report stuff regularly. However, with the resources manager, downloading and verifying every resource is not possible.

I understand that the laws would be country specific. My main concern is to know what should go into my website's ToS to protect ourselves (as forum / website owners)? Is the default ToS good enough to cover the basics?
 

BirdOPrey5

Well-known member
#20
You should at a minimum have a section in your ToS explaining how someone can report any content they feel infringes their copyright that you (or staff) will be able to review as quickly as possible and take action against. Preferably email, real mail, phone, and fax- but at least email and the name of the person to contact.