I'm hoping this is going to be a fairly quick question to answer, i am a moderator on an open (adult) forum where members are freely able to post private images of themselves, however we have come across a disclaimer being used by some of our members, it has been copied over from one site to another site. The website itself is readable by anyone, including non-members, however you have to register (free) to be able to see any of the images.
The disclaimer reads :-
To: Sydney University and all other institutions using this site or its associated sites for projects - You do not have permission from me to use any of my profile or pictures in any form or forum both current and future. If you have or do, it will be considered a violation of my privacy and will be subject to legal action. (I suggest the rest of you post this notice.)
With another one popping up today :-
My photographs are copyright protected by law. BUT they are also copyright protected by myself.This cost us a lot of money so please be warned. Anyone one person or institute stealing, downloading or re-posting my pictures will be prosecuted.
What I am want to know is, Are these disclaimer/notices worth the server space they take up or is there something we can write into the rules to save clogging up the site with individual disclaimers?
On that note, someone posting a personal photograph (snap) of themselves on the internet where anyone can see it, are they subject to the same copyright law or do you compromise your rights by posting the images publicly?
The fact that they have posted the images on a forum does implicitly mean that they agree to allow the forum to display those pictures (after all that is what posting the images does - otherwise WHY did they post them?). It does not however give the forum owner any rights to the images (or other content) unless this is explicitly mentioned under the terms of registration/usage agreement for the forum.
- i.e. you can display them on the forum (as the person posted them for display) as per the terms of the forum that were in place when the user signed up (or has subsequently agreed to), but not sell or otherwise distribute, etc.
As for the personal disclaimers - as a forum owner myself I am sympathetic to what you - you cannot realistically treat individual posts/users differently. On the other hand, as you say this is an 'adult' forum I can guess the nature of some of the images -and I can understand that your members may be concerned and would wish to ensure that the images do not receive a wider audience.
Perhaps the real issue here is not a copyright issue, but one of confidentiality and reassurance. Perhaps if you have a notice of your own on the pages the posters would not feel the need for their own?
In terms of copyright, on most forums posters should have no concerns - for the following reasons
* Most forums make no mention of copyright in the registration process - so copyright is still firmly in the hands of the creator.
* Most forums make no mention further distribution of posted materials in the registration process - so no licence to sell/distribute (etc.) is given.
* Most forum registration screens will have a statement like this "You agree that the webmaster, administrator and moderators of this forum have the right to remove, edit, move or close any topic at any time should they see fit".
In other words for forums described in the 3 points above this is probably a total non-issue. The posters are the copyright owners of their material and by posting on the forum they give the forum owners permission to display the post on the forum, remove the posts, move posts (within the forum) and edit their posts.
But just as with other property, a copyright owner needs to be aware of the threats to their work. Just as you would lock your car when leaving it in a town but not necessarily do so when you leave it in your garage, posters on your forum need to bear in mind that if their images are 'attractive' to others there is an increased likelihood of them being copied. The internet offers ample oportunity for images to be copied in breach of copyright, firstly because it is easy to do, and secondly because there is a culture amongst many users that such things are free for the taking. There is also some impunity because the rightful owner faces real difficulty in finding that his images have been used without permission, and since this could happen anywhere in the world, there are difficulties and expenses involved in bringing the infringer to court. Therefore if individuals do not want their images etc stolen they should think carefully before posting them on any part of the internet. A statement such as those you describe will offer no extra protection whatever.
This cannot easily be removed and makes it clear that the image is subject to copyright and who the owner is.
If you posters are worried about their images being copied, this would be far more effective than a notice that would only be seen on your site.