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   Who owns the content from forum posts?
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   Author  Topic: Who owns the content from forum posts?  (Read 12970 times)
dealuser
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Posts: 1
Who owns the content from forum posts?
« on: Aug 12th, 2004, 8:06am »
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I am interested in starting a forum site about a specific topic.  I was interested in setting up automation to take posts from other forums to populate my own forum.  In the process of taking the posts, I would programatically take out all references to the original forum.
 
Is this illegal?  Am I taking any intellectual property or copywright or trademark info by doing this?    
 
A follow-up question would be whether it matters if the forum post content is only available by signing in to the other site?
 
Thank you for any advice on this matter.
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Isaac
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Posts: 3472
Re: Who owns the content from forum posts?
« Reply #1 on: Aug 13th, 2004, 8:06pm »
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By default, authors own the copyright in their own creative
writings.   There is probably some implied license involved
when you publicly post material in a forum, but I would not
expect that license to extend to publishing the material
outside of the forum.
 
Signing up may make a difference because participants may
have agreed to something other than the default.  Without
seeing the agreement, it would be speculative to say what
difference it would make, but I would expect that it would
not allow someone other than the forum holder to make off
with forum contents.
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Isaac
JimIvey
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  jamesdivey  
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Re: Who owns the content from forum posts?
« Reply #2 on: Aug 15th, 2004, 12:08pm »
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I think an argument can be made that the forum owner has rights in the compilation -- like that famous telephone book case that a true copyright attorney would know of the top of their head (hint: I'm not one of those).
 
You might be able to get by with a "fair use" defense if you quote only small portions of each post and include a link to the original post in the other forum.  
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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Isaac
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Posts: 3472
Re: Who owns the content from forum posts?
« Reply #3 on: Aug 15th, 2004, 12:45pm »
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Feist v. Rural Telephone.
 
I'm not sure the forum holder has done anything creative
if he's simply displayed every post made on a given subject.
If there is nothing creative in the selection or arrangement
there is no compilation copyright.
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Isaac
JimIvey
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  jamesdivey  
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Re: Who owns the content from forum posts?
« Reply #4 on: Aug 16th, 2004, 11:03am »
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Not to find fault with your analysis, but to acknowledge the value added and contribution of IntelPropLaw WebMaster -- I think the particular organization of topics might be sufficient for some protection.  I suspect the GUI widgets and miscellany that accompany the raw substantive content of the posts are provided by a packaged BB utility -- probably not good copyright candidates.
 
Anyway, absent something interesting in the "Terms of Use" (http://www.intelproplaw.com/Forum/Terms.shtml) and ignoring any clever or interesting categorization and organization, Mr. Clark is right.
 
Regards.
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James D. Ivey
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