View Full Version : curious Q - forums : clauses

12-15-2002, 08:27 PM
i`m just curious,
if i had a forum and had a clause in the terms and conditions/site info/disclaimer saying that "the views on this forum are not necessarly the views of the site owner or webmaster" and then someone slags someone of could i get in trouble?


12-15-2002, 08:55 PM
yes and no.

It depends what country you are in, what country your server is in, even what country your visitors are predominantly from...

technically, a disclaimer like that should be enough however be careful, it deos not mean that you have no responsibility for what people say.

If someone says something too 'bad' then you could be held responsible if you do not take appropriate action.

Even free speech only goes so far!

Interestingly, it is the US that is the biggest problem, most other countries (like the UK, boy am I glad I am British!) are pretty much OK about stuff except for the obvious ones like China etc. (I am talking about the 'free' world here).

For example, as far as I know certain illegal sites use similar disclaimers so that they can try and avoid action being taken against them, and I believe they also make sure that they don't hold anything illegal, just links etc. This is not enough to absolve their responsibility, just like the owners of these forums could get into trouble if someone posted a link to illegal software etc. and they did nothing about it.

It can be a legal minefield, but as a general rule of thumb, so long as you have appropriate disclaimers and do a good job policing the forums you shouldn't get any trouble (it's pretty rare anyway). Plus, personal libel is the least of your problems, as slander etc. can be argued round in court to be opinion etc. free speech etc. there are other more serious issues you need to be concerned with ;)

::] krycek [::

12-15-2002, 09:00 PM
thank you as i was a little curious, i will have a forum but for only about 15 years and to view it requires password access.

thank you, i will take caution.


12-16-2002, 03:29 AM
We just had a precedent set here in Australia that if someone over the other side of the world says something on their site about some guy then the person can sue, the owner will be tried according to Australian law which is extremely tough on things like slander. Even if the server (and thus website) is in another country!

12-16-2002, 02:14 PM
hehehe exactly what I was on about :) for more madness, read up on the DMA (Digital Millennium Act) that Clinton signed for in the US not so long ago...

...there is a Russian firm that make security scripts, one of which analyses other security algorithms for weaknesses, which is totally legit because they are not trying to hack, just test out the scripts etc. However, this contravenes the DMA which prohibits reverse engineering of other people's intellectual property etc. among other things. Hence, because this Russian company sells its services worldwide, even though they do not have any physical or financial prescence in the US, the US is currently pursuing a court case against the company which may end in the Russian programmers spending time in a US cell. In theory, that is. And that's despite the fact that what they are doing is perfectly legal in Russia.

Now, if someone tried to do that to an American company, the US would be like "@#*$ off we're American" however they want to have their own way with other countries... how does that work then? lol :) That's why I said you've gotta be very careful about everything even if it seems ok, coz not everyone out there is 'normal' or follows what normal people would call common sense and logic!

::] krycek [::