Comments – Who do they belong to?

Darren posted a email that he received asking about the rights for use of comments.  His post is through this link.

The question boils down to this:  Are the comments that are placed on a blog the property of the owner of the blog or of the comment maker?  Should the Comment maker be notified if a third party wishes permission to republish the comment?

Based upon the comments already to Darren’s post, I believe it’s safe to say that most of you believe that the comment belongs to the blog’s owner.  I agree.  I think that we should be cautioned that if we pursue that as a truth, there will be some caveat’s that are present.  The biggest one of these would be liability.  It then becomes possible to be sued not only for the content of your posts, but also for the content of you comments.  If you already moderate your comments, this wouldn’t be a problem, but some people have fairly set rules about commenting and just leave it at that.

In the end, I think a comment is much like a letter to the editor.  The paper owns the publishing rights as it appears in the paper.  You own the rights to the comments as they appear in your blog.

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About Shane Ede

Shane Ede is an IT guy by day and a Entrepreneurial Blogger by night. You can follow him here on Thatedeguy or over on Twitter and Google+.

Comments

  1. “In the end, I think a comment is much like a letter to the editor. The paper owns the publishing rights as it appears in the paper. You own the rights to the comments as they appear in your blog.”

    I couldn’t agree more. As a former newspaper editor I may be biased, but that is exactly how I always try to treate comments. I might not always agree, but if it is good or makes a point, it of course is worth posting. Having that “Gatekeeper” role is additional support for the idea that comments are the site owners. You have the call whether to publish them, remove them, etc. While I wouldn’t use the idea or wording without at least mentioning they came from another source, it is your site and your content.

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