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1. Libel in Comments 2. Copyright Notice

  1. Hi,

    I have been searching FAQs and the Forums, but haven't located a definitive answer to the following, and would appreciate an experienced/knowledgeable blogger's opinion . . .

    1. I set up my blog a few months ago, and have now started writing a series on my old school. There has been a great response, with hundreds of comments from ex-pupils, especially regarding our somewhat tyrannical ex-teachers (I am curently averaging a thousand hits a day, with the most popular post in the series having received over 6,000).

    I am a lawyer, and fairly conversant with libel law (English), and delete any comments which concern me. I have stressed that all comments need to be true!

    In terms of liability, I presume WordPress has a disclaimer. For my postings, obviously I am liable. It is my understanding that, re comments, the commenter is liable, but so am I (as the list owner). Is this understanding correct? Would it be advisable for me to put some kind of disclaimer (in the "About this Blog" page) covering me re comments (stating that commenters are responsible for their contributions)? Would it cover me? My guess is not! But at least it would warn commenters of THEIR liability.

    Any clarification would be much appreciated.

    2. Re copyright, is it correct that a notice is unnecessary? Even so, does anyone know of a good standard notice, or widget, I could use (even if just to reenforce the point)?

    Many, many thanks,


    The blog I need help with is

  2. Try Creative Commons for a copyright notice. They have several versions, so you can pick whichever best suits your needs.

    Have a look at this for an idea of the kind of legal statements you might want to include:

  3. Or Copyscape.

  4. Mike,

    Re the liability issues: you're the lawyer and no doubt know better than any of us here.

    In terms of the terms of service (our own policies, not the law and legal issues), we consider it a blog owner's responsibility to moderate or otherwise manage comments on their blog to deal with spam and abuse.

    You're correct about copyright - a copyright notice is not a legal requirement, but posting one is a good idea if you are concerned about plagiarism. Google "copyright myths" for some good explanations.

  5. This is the "Blogger's Legal Guide" as published by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It's America-specific but the laws are similar to those in Europe, Australia and Canada. It has a great section on copyright, libel laws and what your rights and responsibilities are as a blogger.

    Hope it helps.

  6. I've been using the following text now for about 10 years on numerous sites.

    I have found that it covers most things and only needs trivial tweaking when used in a new site context.

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