Does someone have exclusive rights to something they have written on someone else's page?
I am talking about comments written on someone elses blog or forums.
--a persons comments were deleted from a forum page by the administrator of the forum. The person complained about his intellectual property rights had been violated.
--If public comments are allowed on a blog or website, does the author only have rights to the comment content or does the owner of the website/blog/forum also have rights to use it as well.
I would think the sites owner would have rights but ethics would say not as original content.
Curious for opinion and any legal precedence.
Good questions! This is one of my areas of expertise, so I'll venture a comment on it. I'm NOT a lawyer, so this is guidance and NOT legal advice.
You bring up several important issues, which I'll summarize (let me know if I forgot any):
1) Do I own something I've written on someone else's page?
2) My comments being deleted by the administrator.
3) Does the owner of the site have rights to your comments?
1) Verify with http://www.copyright.gov, but, I think this falls into the category of "You wrote it, you own it." Also check into "Fair Use", which is what allows a person to quote a sentence or two here and there from virtually anyone's work AS LONG AS I give the author the credit for that quote in order to make a point in one's own writing.
2) Someone owns the site. So, I THINK they have the right to determine what does and doesn't get published on their site. I think they DO have to make that text available to you (keep a copy in the first place yourself, if you care about it, just in case...) if they delete it, but I have no precedence for that. Ethically it doesn't seem right that a site owner can just go through and delete your work without keeping a copy to send back to you in case you DID care about it.
3) I THINK the site owner's only rights to your comments are whether or not to publish them on their site. Otherwise "you wrote it, you own it". (See advice in #2 above about keeping a copy of text you care about--just in case.)
** Verify everything I've said with the official copyright site for your country. In the U.S., that site is http://www.copyright.gov.
I hope this helps! Anyone please correct me if I'm wrong on any points or if I missed any points--I need to know this information, too, as do we all who publish anything online.
Great questions, thanks for bringing this up!
thanks Laura! Sounds about right. I don't know what precedence there would be to keep a copy for a deleted comment. You wouldn't have to keep a copy of graffiti when it's clean off or painted over and usually the deleted comment was offensive.
Sorry, I was advocating to keep copies of everything you submit that's of any value to you--in case you want to use it later as a Hub or on another site. Like photographing graffiti immediately after finishing it if it's good or you're proud of it.
Yes I would agree that it's the author's responsibility to keep a copy not the site owner.
I agree with Laura on almost every point. The only place I have a slight difference of opinion is the part about someone deleting comments from their own website. If you post something they don't like for any reason, they can delete it without having to give the person who wrote a chance to have a copy. That's the responsibility of the writer. If you want a copy make it before your post the comment. Take HP for an example. If you read one of my hubs and post a comment, I have a choice to approve or deny that it be posted. If I hit "deny", the information is gone and whoever wrote it will lose that content unless they saved it.
You own the material you post as a comment unless the person running the website has a statement saying otherwise. You have to be careful and make sure you read all copyright and terms of service agreements. I have been at a few forums where the TOS specifically states that the owners of the website can use ANY and ALL information posted by the users. Needless to say, I never participated at those places.
sheilamyers, I've changed my mind and done more research: if you submit something anywhere, it's your responsibility to keep a copy (if you care). The site/whatever is not, from what I've read, responsible for sending you your content back. Cheers!
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