Copyright and Online Forum

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  • The vbulletin administrator at bawc forums . org is violating copyright laws in claiming written works by forum members, and denying the ability for the written work owners to modify their text. As of March 13, 2009, there have not been any TOS statements that we have agreed to claiming that the administrator has rights over this content. Any posts made prior should not follow under any new TOS statements if any have been made. What can be done to protect the poster's rights to their content on this website?
  • I am not aware of any legal precedent here, but I can say one thing about the law and assert one opinion.

    The law, of course, is that the forum members who write posts retain copyright in those posts, unless there is a contractual agreement (i.e. terms of service) that transfers copyright to the forum administrators. You seem to already know this. The forum administrators have no ownership claim in posts written by others.

    My opinion is, however, that posting to a forum gives the forum administrator an implied license to make such use of your content as would be reasonably expected given the circumstances and technology. I can certainly imagine that an administrator could argue that they have no obligation to let forum members modify what they have already written and posted. They could argue that members expectations are that postings will be stable and accessible in an archive and that that creates an implied license that might even preclude letting people change what they post.

    The rule for all writing on the Internet is to be sure you mean it before you post it and don't write anything you wouldn't want your grandmother to see.

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