ARRSE and The Law - Experts Please

Discussion in 'ARRSE: Site Issues' started by Good CO, Nov 21, 2005.

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  1. Good CO

    Good CO LE Admin

    For some reason I woke up this morning at 5am with concerns about ARRSE and the law. In short, are our umbrellas good enough? I would therefore appreciate well informed input in to how we stand regarding legal action based on site content.

    Our 'umbrella', if we have one at all, comes mainly from:

    Site policy:

    Privacy policy / membership agreement (link on the bottom of each page although very small and accepted on application for membership):

    Use of a small army of dedicated moderators who do a very good and normally fast job of spotting potential problems. Note that some forums do not have dedicated moderators.

    Our status as a means of communication, perhaps comparable to live TV in that we only have editorial control after posting if someone breaks the rules above.

    Educated opinions very welcome!
  2. OK I'm not a lawyer but the first thing that springs to mind is:

    Where's is the Site's disclaimer?

    You know the sort of thing:
    "ARRSE is not responsible for anything posted by anyone. All Messages posted are the views of the poster Blah blah blah blah..."

    You’ve sort of close to it with the User agreement and the site policy.
  3. I now work in broadcasting and as GM of the company am responsible for all arrse covering procedures. Here are a couple of tips:

    1. Have you considered taking out defamation insurance. It is well worth getting a quote. If nothing else you can find out from the Insurance Company what steps they suggest to limit your risk.

    2. A disclaimer clause at a prominent point of the site is usefull.

    3. Make all members aware that should ARRSE be sued for something a private member posted ARRSE reserve the right to sue that individual, in turn. By the way this is how a defamation insurance policy works. It will only protect ARRSE not the individual members and where they lose a case they will take litigation against the individual to recover their costs.

    4. Keep a history of examples where ARRSE have disciplined members. This will not protect you from litigation however at any subsequent hearing it goes to show a genuine attempt at moderation and may limit penalties.

    5. The main thing is to carry out regular risk assessments. I occassionally ask an outsider to review our broadcast as internally we are too ready to accept lapses of judgement as being innocent.

    6. When a lapse occurrs have a well written retraction ready to paste up in an obvious part of the site as well the thread the defamation occurred. It is worth getting a lawyer who specialises in defamation to word it so that it denounces nasty comments without accepting liability that they were nasty in the first place.

    7. Transfer all your assetts in wifeys name. Appear skint at all times.

    8. Work on finding a pro bono lawyer. Several years ago had a defamation claim where although we were found guilty we were only fined $1. The problem was the legal costs led to broadcast announcer losing his house.

    Good luck.
  4. Not an educated opinion I'm afraid, just a best guess. I believe that a short period of drawing EVERYONE's attention to the site rules again would buy enough time to gain genuine learned opinion. Might I suggest an automatic addition to every signature block something similar to the one I have added here to mine, for say, a full calendar month? Or would it be possible for it to add automatically to every poster with, say, less than 100 posts - thereby ensuring that it continues to "pop up" routinely?

    This also must bcontinue to be the strongest defence possible. PTP in particular takes some stick from a vociferous minority of out-and-out libertarians but the MODs of ARRSE do an absolutely fantastic job in my opinion and long may they continue to do so.
  5. Looking for a Mod job yourself, Abs? Flipping heck, can your firm afford for you to spend any more time on ARRSE?! :p :lol:
  6. This could be shortened to 'Get married'.
  7. You mean get divorced 8O
  8. IMHO Probably the best you can ever do is have a well thought out TOS, including a policing and enforcement policy, a jurisdiction and dispute policy, and an effective system for reporting violations or abuse.

    It goes a long way to either reducing the risk/effect of a claim. Heaven forbid a claim is ever filed a judge (and jury) will be more likely sympathetic to the forum operator who took prompt well reasoned action. This is where having a well written and clearly published policy in place that anticipates problems, can save you a measure of grief.

    Edited because quite clearly it is Monday morning and I still can't spell.
  9. Good CO

    Good CO LE Admin

    Thanks for the feedback and some excellent points made. Birdie_Numnums you've been particularly helpful and I'll certainly be putting some of those suggestions in to practice ASAP. More thoughts welcome, particularly from anyone with internet legal experience.
  10. J_D

    J_D LE

    Reading through the T&C's, I can't find anything regarding private photos being posted with out permission. Not regarding things taken off the net but member to member. If I'm mistaken, apologies, but with out permission its illegal right?
  11. Anya,

    Did you look at this?

    "original artistic works, e.g. paintings, engravings, photographs, sculptures, collages, works of architecture, technical drawings, diagrams, maps, logos;"

    “So the above works are protected by copyright, regardless of the medium in which they exist and this includes the internet. You should also note that copyright does not protect ideas. It protects the way the idea is expressed in a piece of work, but it does not protect the idea itself.”

    Hope this is of some help.
  12. J_D

    J_D LE

    Thats fine, thanks for the help. I was reading this thread and it got me thinking about private photos. I have come across sites where people are outting others and putting pictures of them up. Didn't know if that was a case or not. But you have helped.

  13. Good CO, yes you should be worried, and here is why.

    In a nutshell, in UK law, you can sue for defamation rising from online comments made on bulletin boards.

    note your potential responsibilities:

    I'm sure that ARRSE users would be willing to donate to help out with costs for a consultation with a lawyer with experience in this area. Far better than asking them to shell out 15g's in compensation