Are user generated forum posts copyright protected?

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Old Jul 30th, 2011, 08:12 PM   #1
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Default Are user generated forum posts copyright protected?

I need to know if a user generated post on a forum is protected by copyright?

The forum rules do not state they are entitled to your posts. If you request you have these posts removed are they required to do so.

Would this be considered copyright infringement?

I cannot find previous cases regarding this matter.
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Old Jul 30th, 2011, 10:58 PM   #2
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Default Re: Are user generated forum posts copyright protected?

I wish to inform you that Copyright is granted when a person takes copyright of ones work from Copyright Office. In his regard generally your post on a website does not grant you the right that website cannot delete that post. Website management has the right to determine as to which things will be published on their website. You may not claim copyright infringement if website deletes your post. Similarly ones you have posted your post then website may not delete your post even if you request because that may be the policy of website of not deleting what has been written.

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Old Oct 4th, 2011, 04:18 PM   #3
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Default Re: Are user generated forum posts copyright protected?

In my opinion, the first reply to this posting is incorrect. Copyright is not granted by the Copyright Office - registration, per se, of copyright is what is granted by the Copyright Office. Registration, per se, affords the copyright holder certain rights, a primary one being the right to bring suit for infringement. That said, copyright itself vests upon creation - that is, if the work is susceptible of copyright protection in the first place (e.g., it meets certain criteria such as substantiality and originality), it vests in the author automatically as it is created. I believe it's the case that a posting on a forum would be the subject of an implied license granted by the author, that the posting may appear on the forum, and probably that the "user" of the posting would be free to do with the posting what is naturally anticipatable. For example, I think the implied license would inherently include the right to print out the posting, whereas its broad dissemination might be questionable; and, certainly, using the work (such as it is, being a mere posting) in order to create a derivative work (say, a song from the posting) might well be beyond the implied license. I'd suggest that the natural incidents of use of the Internet and, e.g., such postings on the Internet, would best frame what would be in the scope of the implied license. This having been said, I would welcome anyone's opinion to the contrary. One thing I've absolutely learned in dealing with copyright issues for many decades is that it's a very slippery and rapidly developing field. I've made mistakes and "missed" developments that may impact upon what I've opined in the past, so I have learned not to consider my own opinion so very precious! Lastly, I did find it a bit odd that the reply posting mentioned that "You may not claim copyright infringement if website deletes your post." I can't imagine a circumstance under which anyone could claim infringement as a result of NOT using someone's posting, or for the act of eliminating it after it had previously been posted. I didn't at all understand the last sentence in that posting ("[s]imilarly ones [sic] you have posted your post then website may not delete your post even if you request because that may be the policy of website of not deleting what has been written") - I would expect any website to pre-condition any postings upon the right of the website maintainer to eliminate any posting at any time. I suspect what the reply poster meant to indicate was that a website hosting a forum would not be required to REMOVE any given posting upon request. Restpectfully submitted.
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Old Oct 5th, 2011, 04:40 AM   #4
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Default Re: Are user generated forum posts copyright protected?

Posts on most forums become the copyrighted property of those forums according to the terms of usage. And that is perfectly legal and binding.
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Old Sep 5th, 2012, 10:53 PM   #5
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Thumbs Up Re: Are user generated forum posts copyright protected?

I would say "Yes” user generated forum posts may be copyright protected except the maker of the post agreed to certain rules when he joined the group.If the policy states that all information which is placed would be visible to the public then it would mean “NO” so anyone can and may copy it.
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Old Sep 6th, 2012, 10:29 AM   #6
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Default Re: Are user generated forum posts copyright protected?

If the language of the agreement signing on to a site says the site owner owns all content one posts, then they own the copy right to the material.

Ordinarily, one has a copy right on any and all written works from the moment they create it -- without having to register for copyright protection. Some go the extent of mailing the work to themself so they have it date stamped. That is not necessary.

But if one chooses to post their material online they are bound by the agreement they electronically sign when the sign up as a member on that site.
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Old Sep 12th, 2012, 01:05 PM   #7
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Default Re: Are user generated forum posts copyright protected?

If the site doesn't say they own it, then you own it by virtue that you posted it with, more than likely, a time and date stamp on it. Much like the time and date stamps you see here. What's harder to prove is that you personally was the one typing it on the keyboard. Just because they can trace the IP address and the owner of the internet account associated with it, doesn't mean that you wrote the post in question. It's just easier for forum sites to state ownership in their T's and C's.
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Old Aug 2nd, 2013, 07:52 PM   #8
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Default Re: Are user generated forum posts copyright protected?

I run a story site. I've had several members on the forum I own get mad and delete their stories before leaving. The research I did at that time indicated that when a person posts their story or other content on a forum they are granting a non-exclusive license to the post content to the owner of the site. Accordingly, I added a rule that reads as follows:

"Understand that when you post here you have granted [website name] a non-exclusive license to the content you posted, providing that you hold copyright to the content. Accordingly, you may not remove your content without permission from the site owner. The termination of the non-exclusive license must be agreed upon by both parties. We make regular back-ups of our data base, and reserve the right to restore any content deleted without permission."
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