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Author Topic: Liabilities of owning a forum  (Read 4972 times)

Offline kennethm

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Liabilities of owning a forum
« on: November 24, 2012, 02:30:45 AM »
anyone ever had any trouble from someone or does the registration agreement basically cover it all?

Offline Kindred

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Re: Liabilities of owning a forum
« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2012, 02:35:05 AM »
there are always potential liabilities...   many of them depend on the focus and content of your forum.
It also depends on what "liabilities" you are talking about....

For example, if you are promoting or assisting in illegal activities, then no agreement will ever cover your liability.
However, if you have a general, legal forum, then most things can be covered by the agreement and other things can be covered by simple common sense.

Many things depend on your local laws, as well (for example, those silly EU cookie laws affect EU forums, but not US forums)
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Offline kennethm

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Re: Liabilities of owning a forum
« Reply #2 on: November 24, 2012, 02:44:10 AM »
meaning being sued if some idiot posted some libelous comment on, but then again ive read about a us law that says you not responsible for 3rd party posts. Basically just wondered if anyone on here has ever had any real legal trouble from owning a forum.

kat

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Re: Liabilities of owning a forum
« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2012, 05:40:19 AM »
If anyone posts such things, delete them ASAP. You've shown "Due diligence", then. :)

Offline ahrasis

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Re: Liabilities of owning a forum
« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2012, 07:55:32 AM »
If the post is just a spam, delete them in at certain time. The spammers will never bother wit this as they will always spam again.

MrPhil

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Re: Liabilities of owning a forum
« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2012, 11:15:37 AM »
meaning being sued if some idiot posted some libelous comment on, but then again ive read about a us law that says you not responsible for 3rd party posts.

At least in the US, it's still something of a gray area. If you do absolutely no moderation, you might be able to claim you're a "common carrier" (like a phone company) and therefore not responsible for content. I think that you need to clearly state on every page that you take no responsibility for content. If you do at least some moderation, it might be claimed that you are taking responsibility for the content. Although there apparently isn't much case law regarding this, if you show that you have policies against libel, are diligent about responding to complaints, and proactively remove genuinely offensive (libelous) material, you've done all that can be reasonably be expected of you. That won't prevent some jerk from threatening to take you to court, but it could keep them from winning a suit against you.

I am not a lawyer (I only play one on TV), so see a real lawyer if you're still concerned about this.

kat

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Re: Liabilities of owning a forum
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2012, 11:45:16 AM »
'course, another consideration is who your host is and where they are. Different countries have different laws and all that.

I've seen a lot of disclaimers to the effect of "If there's something wrong, let us know and we'll trash it, PDQ", too.

YouTube pretends to run like that. But, I believe they just think "Screw you", most of the time... ;)

Offline kennethm

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Re: Liabilities of owning a forum
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2012, 02:47:26 PM »
Well looks like the US in 1996 enacted the Communication Decency Act ("CDA"). Section 230 of the CDA, It reads as follows:

"No provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as the publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider."

Section 230 goes on to say that "No cause of action may be brought and no liability may be imposed under any state or local law that is inconsistent with this section." This means that there is no liability for content posted online by a third party that is defamatory, offensive, violates individual rights of publicity or privacy or otherwise would trigger a claim under State law.

So at least in the usa i suppose the CDA law covers the bases plus when they electronically sign the registration form it pretty well specifies they are responsible for what they post.


Offline ahrasis

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Re: Liabilities of owning a forum
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2012, 07:53:06 PM »
Thanks for US laws info. We do not have such a provisions here yet. We however have new laws passed recently which prima facie makes all account holder liable for whatever offences committed from their account though they may not be the author.

Offline Kindred

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Re: Liabilities of owning a forum
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2012, 09:12:45 PM »
actually, that US Law is not nearly as broad as it seems.  If you run a forum and you knowingly allow things like libel or other people's intellectual properties  to remain visible, you are potentially at fault and responsible.

i.e. I admin a forum dedicated to fans or a game called warhammer 40K, owned by Games Workshop. GW is notoriously diligent in protecting the intellectual property of its games. This means, if one of our users posts content which infringes upon the IP of GW, WE, as owners of the forum, CAN be held responsible and they can shut us down (and they have shut several sites down for just those reasons)

The same hold true for personal information (i.e. malicious spreading of the person's name, address and/or image).


So... despite what that  section of the CDA seems to allow, be judicious with the delete actions when approached. (e.g. if someone contacts you and says "User XYZ has done this on your site..." be sure to act proactively.
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Offline kennethm

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Re: Liabilities of owning a forum
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2012, 11:25:45 PM »
yes i feel  law or no law,  common sense would dictate to take  proactive measures for numnuts that post potentialy libelous statements or post copyrighted material on your forum rather than just ignoring it.

Offline ahrasis

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Re: Liabilities of owning a forum
« Reply #11 on: November 25, 2012, 09:19:42 PM »
In our laws, the offended parties can lodge report(s) and the police may probe into it. It is, however, unlikely for forum owners to be held liable here but they will be warned to take a better action such as remove the post, warn the author and/or ban the author upon request or report lodged to them. However, freedom of speech, is at stack and will be affected as people will be more afraid to talk freely especially against coercive acts by the government and their bodies/agencies.