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Managing content online

The Web has undergone a cultural and social revolution, commonly referred to as Web 2.0. At the heart of this revolution is user generated content; content created and uploaded to a site by a user of the site.

In the early days of the Web, websites operators pushed out information and content. As such, they were able to control the content that was displayed through their site. Now, the successful Web 2.0 sites rely heavily on user generated content. This of course introduces new risks as you have no control over what a user publishes through your site. It could infringe someone’s intellectual property rights or could be offensive or defamatory.

Are you responsible for this? Yes, unless you have a defence under the Ecommerce Regulations. This is not straightforward and there are many issues to consider to manage content risks. For example:

  • Do you moderate? If so, this may affect your ability to claim defence under the Ecommerce Regulations. It may also affect user experience in terms of curtailing freedom of expression;
  • Do you operate a notice and takedown process which sets out acceptable conduct and the circumstances in which you will take down content;
  • Do you need to own the content or will rights to publish the content suffice. If so, do you have the necessary permissions;

We are able to help you navigate successfully the content liability minefield. In particular, we advise on acceptable use policies, notice and take down procedures and managing liability risks to users and third parties. Prevention is always the best policy but if you do run into trouble we will assist in resolving any disputes.

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