Been Threatened

'Is it legal', 'can I do this' type questions and discussions.
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Yetalia
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Been Threatened

Post by Yetalia » Sun Mar 21, 2010 2:26 pm

Hi,

My forum has been threatened to be taken to court by another forum for a post that was formed on our forum. The thing is the topics aren't the same but have a similar concept. Surely we can't be taken to court for having the same idea can we?

Any advice would be great.

Thanks,

Becky

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AndyJ
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Post by AndyJ » Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:55 pm

We probably need a bit more detail about what the other site are actually claiming. It certainly doesn't sound like a copyright issue from what you've said. Two people expressing the same thought on two different forums would not be the basis for a claim. I think it's called free speech. LOL.
The other point is that generally speaking forum owners do not own the copyright in any thing posted by another person on their site. And they have some legal protection in defamation cases simply because they are not the authors of the comments.
If the posting on your forum contains something, for instance an image or a quotation, which is in copyright, and the other site is claiming the copyright is theirs, then the best advice would be to temporarily remove the specific item from your site pending a response from the poster on your site - he may claim he owns the copyright! This is basically how the US Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA) works, although of course you don't have to abide by a 'takedown' notice if your site is hosted outside the USA. However if your forum is hosted on a server in the USA, you would need to obey a takedown notice, which has a specific format.
It may be that even if something on your forum can be shown to be someone else's copyright, your poster (and not you, the site admin) may be able to claim an exemption from infringement through 'fair dealing' because the item was posted for the purposes of review or criticism. However it would still be necessary for the poster to give an acknowledgement to the copyright owner.
Going to court is way down the track and under UK law, if you as the site owner/administrator had no reason for believing something posted on your forum was copyright, the most that a court can order is that the infringement ceases. It would be an expensive business for the claimant to go to court, and he wouldn't be entitled to damages or expenses even if he won, so not much point!

Yetalia
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Post by Yetalia » Wed Mar 24, 2010 12:36 pm

Basically she had a lottery syndicate post on her forum that was posted in December. Myself and my friend didn't know about this and we made a similar topic on our forum. We in no way copied her since our's was for a different reason.

I'm glad that she can't really do anything and you've just confirmed what I thought anyway lol. Thank you.

- Becky

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