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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Support Website Sold, Who Owns Data

    I was a member of a support website for years, submitting posts for questions that people around the world asked. There was never a disclaimer that the content ownership transferred to the owner of the site and, as such, when he recently sold the site, the new owner has taken the content and will not let him release it back to the users. We (several users of the old site) intend on creating another support site but we want our content back.

    What are the legal ramifications of this and do we have any recourse?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Support Website Sold, Who Owns Data

    Laws vary by state and country.

    The seller's actions are restricted by whatever contract he entered into with the buyer.

    If the site's public, and you haven't conveyed your work to the site, you are free to do what you want with your own posts. Your rights to use other people's posts (or possibly even quotes within your posts) are murkier.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Support Website Sold, Who Owns Data

    There was no disclaimer about posting rights. This is all it said:

    Code:
    When posting to the forum, you agree to the following:
    
    Your forum title should represent your question.
    Why? Consider this scenario: You are searching for help on 
    getting the data from a combobox.  You type in some keywords 
    and it returns 1000 results with the following types of titles:
      Help me please!
      In need of help . . .urgent!
      Experts help needed.
    These type of titles do not help you find what you want 
    quickly.  Therefore, we ask you please follow this rule!
    
    DO NOT use profanity or any offensive language.
    DO NOT sell products or release latest news.
    Do not look for illegal hacked software.  This includes asking 
    for serial numbers, url's, licensing, etc.
    
    MUST be xxxxx programming related.
    If you do not follow these guidelines, your account may be 
    disabled.
    Since I was the "most active" poster, I do have a right to ask them to remove all my posts and articles. If the seller didn't actually have right to the posts, then how can he sell the data to another person? The data is what was actually driving traffic to the site and, without it, the site would be worth a lot less than it was.

    The original owner's state is Idaho, I have no idea about the buyer but I know the site is now hosted in Los Angeles.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Location
    Key West, FL
    Posts
    2,350

    Default Re: Support Website Sold, Who Owns Data

    Technically they are your copyrighted materials, but as you freely posted them on someone's else's website, it gets murky. That probably gave them a license to use those materials, though you still own the copyright.

    You can ask anything you want. Who knows what the response would be.

    Frankly, who cares. You don't have any legal chance of doing anything about it even if you want to spend many thousands of dollars for what amounts to masturbation of your ego.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Location
    Behind a Desk
    Posts
    98,846

    Default Re: Support Website Sold, Who Owns Data

    When you post in somebody else's forum, you give them an implied license to present the information you post. You are free to ask them to remove your posts and, if they ignore you, to hire a lawyer to sue them - although the only outcome I'll guarantee from a contested lawsuit is that it will involve many thousands of dollars in legal fees. They can sell their forum and database because it's theirs.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Apr 2009
    Posts
    9

    Default Re: Support Website Sold, Who Owns Data

    Implied license to present but not OWN...

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