Freelance writers don’t just write for their clients. Most have sites of their own where they both post for themselves and, due to the increasing interactivity of websites in general, accept comments, postings and other material from users.
However, this creates a new legal problem for freelance writers, namely what happens when their users violate copyright law.
It might seem odd to be held accountable, even in part, for infringement that your users undertake without your permission or even knowledge, but the law does allow for that to happen in certain circumstances.
To make matters worse, certain copyright holders have been very aggressive in filing such lawsuits. Most recently Righthaven, the company that has filed dozens of lawsuits over republication of content from the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
So, if you allow users to post content on your site, it’s worth taking a moment to understand what your rights and obligations are and, most importantly, how to protect yourself from legal trouble.
So here’s a basic primer on your responsibility as a webmaster and what you can do to ensure that trouble doesn’t wind up at your door. [Read more…]