HubPages has been editing comments and they've also been cutting and pasting reader comments onto hubs. There are legal considerations to such actions. Comments legally belong to those who write them unless they sign a waiver stating otherwise.
To avoid legal problems and to help hubbers avoid harassment, please add a line to the comment box that says something like that by commenting they are waiving their right to copyright and are licensing HubPages and the hub authors the nonexclusive right to use their comments.
Using the words of others without their permission is called plagiarism. People who comment online don't automatically waive all rights to their comments, individual websites have to provide the correct wording to get readers to waive their rights.
This does raise an interesting point.
I've done some research about copyright in comments. The accepted legal situation is that by posting a comment on a blog or article, the poster is granting an implied license to display that comment and to allow others to reproduce it (effectively, a Creative Commons license).
Therefore, copying and pasting readers' comments into another area of the same blog is not breaching copyright.
The law is completely silent on whether the blog owner is allowed to make corrections, and it would be interesting to know whether HubPages has sought legal advice on that. However, since they are making corrections only on typos and spelling mistakes, not changing the sense of the comment, I'm not sure that anyone would make an issue of it.
In at least one case, an Editbot "correction" on a comment on one of my hubs did change the meaning of the comment. Since I reviewed the edits on my hubs (comments included), I was able to reject the change.
Sounds right to me. I'm no legal eagle, but intentionally placing a comment on a site belonging to someone else seems like a gift. As in ownership has been transferred to the owner of the site (or in this case, the hub).
You bring up an interesting point...I never noticed this, I guess I need to check my comments as well.
I don't know the ins and outs of the law but what I see is an exercise in simple-minded SEO. Someone decided that removing the second comment section might impact the pages ranking somehow and decided to copy and paste the dialogue into the main body where it just becomes nonsensical.
In other words, the ed decided it was important to satisfy the algorithm without any regard for the reader experience. This does not help a site.
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