If I have a blog where people submit what they've learned, can I use, edit, and publish their information with a terms agreement

Asked over 1 year ago - Nyssa, OR

So if they agree to the terms, they cannot sue for intellectual rights.

Attorney answers (4)

  1. 6

    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I agree with my colleagues on most of what is said, but believe that there needs to be a touch of clarification.

    Attorney Ballard is correct that with a proper Terms of Use Agreement you would be able to use, edit, and publish what is submitted to your site. How the Terms of Use Agreement is posted on your site is also important. For agreements of this type to be held valid the agreement needs to be conspicuous and usually requires a overt action from the user to accept the terms (a check box or button that needs to be pressed). This is something that an attorney would discuss with you when drafting the Terms of Use Agreement and will depend on the appearance and user interaction with your site.

    Attorney Schrafel is correct that you would likely end up with an implied license, but the scope of the implied license is dependent on how the user submits the information to your site. If the user's submission automatically appears published on the site, and the user is aware of this fact, then you would have a strong argument for an implied license to publish the work on your website; the thing to be wary of in this case is that the implied license would only cover publishing of the work on your website, not in a book or even on another website. If the user submitted the information with the belief that the information would be private (ie. not published on your website) and it is not apparent that the submissions are automatically posted, there most likely would not be an implied license for publishing the material on your website. You would need to discuss your website with an intellectual property attorney to determine if you have an implied license for the work and what the scope of that implied license is.

    Generally, when it comes to implied licenses I would strongly recommend against relying on them. The person granting and the person receiving the implied license could very well have different views of what the implied license is to cover and this could end up in litigation. Terms of Use Agreements are a great way to define all the terms of a license and could end up saving you money in the long run that could occur from a person submitting material to your website challenging the scope or grant of an implied license.

    Answering of your question is merely general advice and does not constitute legal advice. None of the statements... more
  2. 4

    Lawyers agree

    Best Answer
    chosen by asker

    Answered . With a proper and valid Terms of Use Agreement, yes, you may use, edit and publish material that other's submit to your website. Only your own intellectual property attorney can draft that agreement.

    The above is general information ONLY and is not legal advice, does not form an attorney-client relationship, and... more
  3. 1

    Lawyer agrees


    Answered . It depends on many factors, including fair use doctrine.
    Copyright is a form of protection provided by the laws of the United States title 17, U. S. Code) to the authors of “original works of authorship,” including literary, dramatic, musical, artistic, and certain other intellectual works. This protection is available to both published and unpublished works. Section 106 of the 1976 Copyright Act generally gives the owner of copyright the exclusive right to do and to authorize others to do the following:
    • reproduce the work in copies or phonorecords
    • prepare derivative works based upon the work
    • distribute copies or phonorecords of the work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental, lease, or lending
    • perform the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works
    • display the work publicly, in the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including the individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work
    • perform the work publicly (in the case of sound recordings*) by means of a digital audio transmission

    You need an attorney's assistance.

    This is not a legal advice or solicitation, and does not create an attorney-client relationship. Consult with an... more
  4. 1

    Lawyer agrees


    Answered . If you submit something to a website, you give that website an implied license to publish that material.

    Without more details it is impossible to say more than that. There are many attorneys on this site that specialize in drafting ToS for blogs and websites, search for one in your area.


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