Who owns blog comments?

Sunday 6 March 2005This is more than 18 years old. Be careful.

I should have known it would come to this: Charles Smith conducts a serious discussion about Who owns blog comments. As in, when you post a comment on my blog, do I own the copyright to it, or do you? Is anyone really worried about this kind of thing? Other than IP lawyers that is? What’s next? Who owns the copyright to cocktail party chatter?

I’m not belittling the value of a blog comment, but please: is there no simple good will left in the world? To complicate things further, a comment on the posting claims that while the individual comments are owned by their authors, the compilation of comments onto the posting are owned by the blogger. Oy!

Charles actually suggests that bloggers use a Terms of Service document that grants them a license to display people’s comments:

6. Information Rights. The Proprietor does not claim ownership of Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Service. However, with respect to Content you submit or make available for inclusion on the Service, including without limitation comments you post to the Service, you grant the Proprietor world-wide, perpetual, irrevocable, royalty free, non-exclusive, fully sub-licensable license(s) to use, distribute, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, publicly perform and publicly display such Content (in whole or in part) and to incorporate such Content into other works in any format or medium now known or later developed.

I’m starting to wonder about the irony of the name of Charles’ blog: Reasonable Man.


This comment is mine, bub... Don't even think of using any of these words.
This comment is mine...doh! Really, this is becoming ridiculous. I'm starting to believe lawyers should be prohibited by law. These guys, especially those engaged in IP law, bring up too many stupid ideas recently that are or could or will become threats for our freedom of information. Governments are to blame too, since they create these laws. But here (in Germany) there's some seriously ill seeking-for-ip-law-violations by some make-more-money-lawyers who scan websites via Google just to sue some [innocent|misinformed] webmasters for sometimes many thousand Euro/Dollars -- without trying to solve the problem the informal way before. No common sense left :(
Well, to quote from my http://www.bytehead.org/blog/disclaimer.html disclaimer on my blog:

My writings are copyright © by me, Bryan Price. User comments are copyright the respective user. Respective user grants me the right to archive and display their comments on my site. If user wants their comment removed, please email with the details. E-mail's should match, i.e., if you don't enter an e-mail on the comment form or it isn't valid, I can't take a request to delete it.

I reserve the right to remove comments from me or anybody else for any reason.

There is more (plus a comic routine I believe) at the link, but that covers the user written comments and their respective rights. Not that I have over 40 comments right now, my blog being at the tip of the long, long, long, long tail.
To add some fun to the mix, I use trackforward to duplicate all of my comments into a common "my postings" blog, which emphasizes that they're my words, without making any claims about what others can do them - some restrictions just don't really exist given infinitely copyable media anyaway...

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