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How do we avoid liability for online IP infringement?


My company wants to set up a website or blog that allows the public to post their own content. How do I make sure we are not held liable for any IP infringements?

The professor

We certainly live in interesting times in terms of secondary liability for user-driven content. We have recently seen the YouTube case decided, and the appeal in that case should shed further light on the issue. Similarly, some of these issues were addressed in the Rescuecom case on trade mark infringement.

From a corporate point-of-view, I think if you invite users to contribute to your site, provided you're not monetising the content, and it's an incidental reason for going to the site, as a practical matter you shouldn't have much of a problem. Most IP owners will be thrilled if you simply take down any infringing content in response to a letter and will not take the matter any further.

One issue to consider is how you monitor the contributions. Monitoring is a two-edged sword. It is good if you don't allow infringing content in, but it can be...


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