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Slander on my fourm, can I be sued? (UK)

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  • #16
    Originally posted by Protoss View Post
    Slander on my forum, can I be sued? (UK)



    If you openly contributed to the slander by posting slanderous comments, the answer is yes.
    If you have not posted any slanderous comments, the answer is no.
    Correct. If you are not the owner of the posts, you can't be sued. But you can eventually be forced to give up the details of the slanderer or remove it if they do proceed to take further action. But direct lawsuits for forum owners have never happened if they were not involved.
    Canadian Bodybuilding | Supplement Reviews

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    • #17
      Originally posted by CBB View Post
      Correct. If you are not the owner of the posts, you can't be sued. But you can eventually be forced to give up the details of the slanderer or remove it if they do proceed to take further action. But direct lawsuits for forum owners have never happened if they were not involved.
      The pirate bay got sued, and mini nova, despite that they were not the ones hosting the infringed content, or the ones uploading the content.

      in the UK some kid got sued (and kid lost) because he had a forum with links to .torrents, he didn't make that post .. why's he suddenly an exception?

      Regardless what everybody says here, it means nothing .. contact someone that practices law, and specifically online stuff. What's a free consult ..

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      • #18
        With all due respect Floris. I did say that I'd contacted law advice and I was given advice.
        The question was about Slander on a forum. It was not about piracy.
        You are describing issues that involved piracy not slanderous comments. Two entirely different issues so don't try to change the original subject.

        I agree with you on one thing, if there is any doubt, legal advice should be sought. It worked for me.

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        • #19
          With all due respect, slander or piracy or other issues where company a contacts site owner a forcing them to take content down .. liability is ' are you a service provider or are you moderating the content and therefor liable ' .. if you asked for legal advice, then this topic has run its course.

          Isn't the case libel btw, instead of slander.
          libel = published words
          slander = spoken words

          English is not my first language though.

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          • #20
            UK Laws on slander/libel/defamation of character differ completely to laws on intellectual right (thankfully!). So while you can't be sued over comments posted on your site, you can be sued for damages for hosting or linking to illegally hosted material that's under someone's copyright.


            Vote to have Javascript refactored in vB5

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            • #21
              Ok - I didn't write any slander myself (I had never heard of the company till I got the letter) and our sign-up agreement states that users take responsibility for their own posts, and that slander is against the rules on our forum. I've been asked to remove the posts, and I have (even though I didn't have to). So I think I should be ok.

              Thanks for all the replies.
              Mike Warner
              MIGWeb - a Vauxhall Site for Enthusiasts of all Vauxhalls

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              • #22
                UK law is very different to US law and unless things have changed in the last 9 years (though of course very possible) then you CAN be held liable as the forum owner.

                Anyone remember the Demon vs Godfrey case?

                http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/695596.stm

                Under English law ISPs are not held to have been the publishers of defamatory material providing they satisfy two criteria.
                They must prove they took reasonable care to ensure such material was not published, and once alerted to a problem, took steps to resolve it.
                This is why I host all my forums in the US where you are protected by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section...ns_Decency_Act)

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by benFF View Post
                  This is why I host all my forums in the US where you are protected by section 230 of the Communications Decency Act (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Section...ns_Decency_Act)
                  Sorry, but this doesn't work. I reside in Australia, host in the US, but I must comply with Australian law as this is my country of residence. Spammers found this out quickly through their own actions, thinking they could host in Romania and such countries and live elsewhere. They ended up in court. Now the majority live in countries where such things are not covered by law, or the law simply does not care.

                  Hosting in the US does not mean you come under US law. You come under your countries law for everything you do, regardless where you host. It is not the website that is responsible (located in the US), it is the owner in such cases who is responsible (country of residence).

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                  • #24
                    I think Slander is a very "grey area" personally, and a lot depends on your countries laws towards it. The UK (where I live also). Mmm, they tend to take things "like the US" a little more seriously as a whole. So your not living in the best country!

                    I also don't agree that if another person posts slander on YOUR BOARD, it gives you a (free get out of jail card). As owner of that site your responsible for the daily running of it, you have the power to moderate and remove threads at will, so you could be seen as aiding and abetting if you leave slander posted (after being asked to remove it) first from your board as site owner.

                    Look how many File sharing sites out there create a TOS that informs their members if they post links to downloadable copyrighted material, it's at their own risk and they as site owners are not responsible for your own actions. Only to find themselves later (not the posters) issued with a court summons. All a TOS really does is inform your members what is, and what's not allowed on your board. So if you ban them and they moan about it later, you can point them to your TOS as to why they were banned. It holds very little weight in a court of law, to be used as your defence. A court would argue anyway (why you didn't ban and remove their post after they broke your TOS).

                    It's a fallacy that you as site owner can get away with what your members post, the buck normally stops with you as the owner unfortunately at the end of the day. Another issue that comes into play here is this, what's stopping you as a site owner creating a (normal members account) to post slander, then trying to hide behind that account as site owner using a different admin account?

                    I see it like this, the minute you decide to run a forum on-line. You have to realise that you are solely responsible for it and the content posted by your members. This is why you hire Moderators and other staff members to help with the day to day running of it, and why the software itself gives them more power to Close, Ban, and Delete threads e.t.c. There is no need to seek advice from a solicitor. Just delete the content as requested and ask the member to refrain in future from posting anymore. Problem solved and it didn't cost you a penny! You have to realise that this member may be putting YOU and your BOARD at risk of legal prosecution. I'm not sure about you, but I know what my reaction to that would be if I feel my neck may be on the chopping block also.
                    Last edited by MRGTB; Mon 12th Oct '09, 3:39am.

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                    • #25
                      Hosting in the US does not mean you come under US law.
                      Actually, in some cases (such as COPPA), it does.

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                      • #26
                        My response is gerneally of the form:
                        We get 100's of posts per day and despite the best efforts of our moderators, some posts can slip through the net. If the provide links to the specific postings that they have a problem with, I can take a look at them personally and remove them if they break the sites rules. If you have a forum account, you can pm me the links and use the report post feature to speed up this process.

                        The content of the posts is the property and responsibility of the poster, as site owner I am not directly responsible for this content, however I can/will* maintain a record of the posting(s) and of the poster(s) user information which you can obtain via a court order should you decide to take action against the poster.
                        *Depending on if they've asked for the information about the poster.

                        I find that offering cooperation tends to work better than confrontation. In the only instance that this has happened while i've been in charge of the site in question, the person promptly registered an account and reported the three posts that were bothering them. The user that had posted them inccured sufficient warning points to recieve a ban from the site and that was the last I heard of it.
                        Some of my Mods:
                        Advanced IP Ban Manager (vb3.6+ version) - Fine grained control over blocking trouble makers.
                        Advanced IP Ban Manager (vb4 version) - Fine grained control over blocking trouble makers.
                        Use Original thread for Comments - Uses the original thread for comments for any forum threads promoted to CMS articles.
                        Custom Friendly Urls - Allows customisation of forum urls from the admin CP.

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