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   Forum slander via creative manipulation of posts
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   Author  Topic: Forum slander via creative manipulation of posts  (Read 2453 times)
Tomcat
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Forum slander via creative manipulation of posts
« on: Apr 30th, 2006, 10:02pm »
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Hello all,
 
I have questions about creative reworking of posts by administrators on any typical forum/bulletin message board such as IPB or phpBB and any help would be appreciated.
 
This can best be explained with an example:
 
User123 adds a reply to a thread in a forum. The administrators of that forum feel the post is off topic and should be moved, not deleted. The thread in question is split by the admin and a new thread is created using the post (intellectual property) that User123 created. The new thread is titled creatively by the admin. Embedded in the forum software it states that the topic starter is User123. The first post in the new creatively titled thread is the moved post from the original thread that User123 replied to.
 
A dilemma that can arise is User123 could feel their intellectual property is being misrepresented by the title of the thread that is embedded in the forum software as created by User123.
 
What intellectual property rights come into play here?
 
If this could be construed as defamation of character by User123, what libel and slander laws apply to internet forums and bulletin boards?
 
Would an added note underneath the creative title in question stating that the thread was not started by User123 clear the admin of  liability? Could this be construed as further harassment?
 
 
Kind regards,
 
Tom C.
« Last Edit: Apr 30th, 2006, 10:50pm by Tomcat » IP Logged
Tomcat
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Re: Forum slander via creative manipulation of pos
« Reply #1 on: May 1st, 2006, 9:15am »
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Also if this post is in the wrong place please tell me where I should put it, thanks.
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Isaac
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Re: Forum slander via creative manipulation of pos
« Reply #2 on: May 1st, 2006, 9:49am »
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My guess would be that the TOS associated with the forum probably allows the operator to move posts around.   There probably are not an IP issues to pursue.  In European countries, moral rights might allow an author to prevent misuse of his posts, but the US really does not have those even to the extent the Berne agreement seems to require.
 
The operators activities might present a "false light" type of tort.  That details are a matter of state law and probably vary with the jurisdiction.  Strictly speaking, not an IP issue.
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Isaac
Tomcat
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Re: Forum slander via creative manipulation of pos
« Reply #3 on: May 1st, 2006, 10:42am »
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Thank you for the quick reply.
 
on May 1st, 2006, 9:49am, Isaac wrote:
My guess would be that the TOS associated with the forum probably allows the operator to move posts around.

 
Yes there are TOS that allows the admin to move posts around in the forum. But in the example I'm asking about the admin has creatively titled the post of User123 to his fancy, but it appears to be created by User123 as embedded in the software. User123 finds the title defamatory.
 
The thread title is not simply titled "ThreadX - Moved!"
 
but: "Pejorative!"
 
And when you click on the pejorative, User123's post is the first post in the thread with no explanation that User123 did not create the title or thread.
 
Quote:
Strictly speaking, not an IP issue.

 
Thank you again and I will research what you have poted.
 
User123 has asked the admin to change the title to be more nuetral and acurate, but admin refuses. The TOS and Forum rules are very vaugue in this example. In the TOS it is not expressed admin have the ability to alter titles of posts. It could be construed that the post title itself is against the their own TOS for having "intent to defame gender, race, or religion without intellectual merit."
 
I see this type of subtle IP manipulation happening more and more. Although it is subtle, it could be problematic to the "purity" of individual's IP rights, encourage defamatory language and misinformation.
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JSonnabend
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Re: Forum slander via creative manipulation of pos
« Reply #4 on: May 1st, 2006, 12:10pm »
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Strict legal analysis aside, a cease and desist letter from an attorney may yield the desired results, but that's not free.
 
- Jeff
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SonnabendLaw
Intellectual Property and Technology Law
Brooklyn, USA
718-832-8810
JSonnabend@SonnabendLaw.com
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