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Bill Edwards

Copyright - Removal Of Content

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Dear All

Firstly I am located in the UK.

When members post written content, I understand that we, the forum, are entitled to display that content for as long as we see fit. There is no right of the member to demand that we remove his posts. Is this correct? We will always try to work with members in this situation, but deleting content can (and does) cause existing threads to make no sense once some of the posts are removed.

We have a clause in our forum rules:  Whilst members retain the copyright to the photos they post, ATFOTF reserves the right to display said photos on any part of the site and for as long as we see fit.

If a member voluntarily posts a photo that they own the copyright to and subsequently demands it's removal, are we legally or morally obliged to remove it?

I've tried Googling the above, but don't get any satisfactory answers. Any guidance would be gratefully received.

Many thanks

Bill 

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32 minutes ago, Bill Edwards said:

We have a clause in our forum rules:  Whilst members retain the copyright to the photos they post, ATFOTF reserves the right to display said photos on any part of the site and for as long as we see fit.

You are not phrasing it correctly. You can’t “reserve rights”, since you don’t automatically have those rights to begin with. 

What you need is that the user agrees to “grant you certain usage rights” for his content. Check it out in the terms of any social media site. They will all have a passage about that. For example from Facebook: “… when you share, post, or upload content that is covered by intellectual property rights on or in connection with our Products, you grant us a non-exclusive, transferable, sub-licensable, and worldwide license to host, use, distribute, modify, run, copy, publicly perform or display, translate, and create derivative works of your content (consistent with your privacy and application settings).”

Note that this is only valid if the user actively agrees to this. You can’t secretly change your terms to add this. 

 

Quote

If a member voluntarily posts a photo that they own the copyright to and subsequently demands it's removal, are we legally or morally obliged to remove it?

There could be exceptions, but in general, the answer is yes. 

Edited by opentype

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I agree with everything that @opentype has stated, but there is one other issue that you may wish to bear in mind, if you did not already know this; when someone takes a photograph they own the photograph, but not necessarily the rights to the content which may already be protected by copyrights - this includes images of famous people, certain artefacts and places, etc.

An example would be taking a photograph of say, Elton John, you own the photograph but you do not own the rights to display, reproduce or sell that photograph without the explicit permission (in writing) from the person concerned or their approved agents. I've seen this issue occur in practice so it may worth noting when your members post photographs.

:smile:

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This is an easily avoided situation with the right configuration. We allow members to upload items into our gallery or to link to items from off-site, but never to embed them as an attachment. Members retain control of their galleries and can remove any images they've uploaded as they desire.

We will not remove post content on request, regardless of whether there are any images in said posts, because those posts will only contain embedded images sourced from either the gallery or off-site. Either way, we are not hosting said images in the post directly. Members wishing to stop displaying their images can do so by removing images from the source, be that our gallery or elsewhere.

We would never operate in a way that a member loses control of their own images. It does not help to build trust.

We would remove a gallery in the event that a member was banned from the site.

It's a policy that has served us well in the years we've been online.

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I don't think its quite as clear cut as opentype says.  I have had this exact conern myself and have discussed it with a lawyer friend.

In short, I think unless theres a real possibility the said owner has the financial means to take it further then its probably not worth worrying about.

And to quote my lawyer:

Quote

Just had a look at some notes. They're as I remember. The guy would need the notoriety and goodwill of people like Gazza, Elvis, ABBA, The Muppets, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles or Crocodile Dundee, where, in actuality, he's just a tree surgeon.

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Edited by Steve Bullman

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16 hours ago, Steve Bullman said:

discussed it with a lawyer friend.

 

 

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13 minutes ago, Joel R said:

Your lawyer quoted the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles as legal advice? 

Note the 'friend' part ?

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Why not just purchase an hours worth of legal advice from a pro instead of depending on others with no legal background? As a bonus for getting real legal advice you may not get sued ? 

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Short answer: 

Just accede to the request and carry on being better. 

Long answer:

Having last year gone through this exact situation I must advise that the DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) comes into play here. I was issued a notice by a disgruntled member who had over 15k posts on my forum made over a 9 year period, to remove said posts as per her rights in this DMCA act. I checked it out and being neither American nor interested enough to even bother giving her the satisfaction of a fight, I simply removed all her posts and photographs from public view and also changed the account details so that she couldn't log in again. 

The experience reinforced in me a valuable lesson I learned a long time ago about running a forum: people who claim to be your friend online will curry favour with you until your tolerance of their breaking the rules no longer suits them. Then they will stab you in the back. 

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