What is my legal position?

by RetiredOldDude 29 replies
I am considering starting a forum (based on the stock market). As it will be a brand new Forum, I am thinking about "seeding" it with about 100 threads and 100 articles from other forums and stock market sites.

1. What is my legal position?

2. I will be using Google Pay Per Click to drive traffic to the site. Will Google care that it is not original material?

3. As I will be using paid traffic only, I am not concerned about any Search Engine Optimization issues. Will any of my potential affiliate marketers be concerned?

4. The site is a standard MyBB Bulletin Board Forum site. Would MyBB be concerned? My main competitor does NOT use a MyBB site.


Thanks
#main internet marketing discussion forum #affiliate marketing #forum affiliates #legal #position
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  • Profile picture of the author lotsofsnow
    Asking for your legal position here is probably not a good idea. Just grab a layer and he will be happy to answer your legal questions.
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    • Profile picture of the author RetiredOldDude
      Originally Posted by hpgoodboy View Post

      Asking for your legal position here is probably not a good idea. Just grab a layer and he will be happy to answer your legal questions.
      Thanks.

      What about the other questions?
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    • Profile picture of the author An Al
      Originally Posted by hpgoodboy View Post

      Asking for your legal position here is probably not a good idea. Just grab a layer and he will be happy to answer your legal questions.
      He doesn't need a lawyer. What he plans to do is a violation of copyright. You can't steal another site's content to use on your own. When they find out, they will likely have your site taken down with a DMCA request. If you're lucky, it ends there. If you're not lucky, it ends up with hiring a lawyer to defend against a lawsuit.

      What would you suggest?
      Not stealing someone elses content for starters.
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      • Profile picture of the author SunilTanna
        Originally Posted by An Al View Post

        He doesn't need a lawyer. What he plans to do is a violation of copyright. You can't steal another site's content to use on your own. When they find out, they will likely have your site taken down with a DMCA request. If you're lucky, it ends there. If you're not lucky, it ends up with hiring a lawyer to defend against a lawsuit.



        Not stealing someone elses content for starters.
        Ianal, and I think his plan is sleazy at best, but I think it's not clear if it is a copyright infringement of the forum depending on what he copies.

        Unless there is a written assignment of copyright from the post author, or the post author is employed by the forum, the copyright in their post most likely belongs to the post author rather than the forum (a written conveyance is usually required to transfer copyright except in cases of works for hire). The upshot of this, is the forum may not have Standing to assert copyright on the posts, at least not all of them. The individual post authors however could assert copyright.
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        • Profile picture of the author RetiredOldDude
          Originally Posted by SunilTanna View Post

          Ianal, and I think his plan is sleazy at best, but I think it's not clear if it is a copyright infringement of the forum depending on what he copies.

          Unless there is a written assignment of copyright from the post author, or the post author is employed by the forum, the copyright in their post most likely belongs to the post author rather than the forum (a written conveyance is usually required to transfer copyright except in cases of works for hire). The upshot of this, is the forum may not have Standing to assert copyright on the posts, at least not all of them. The individual post authors however could assert copyright.
          That is how our Attorneys had explained it to us. I was looking for confirmation here on this forum. Thank you
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  • Profile picture of the author Rbtmarshall
    1. i dont know
    2. your plan will be against googles TOS
    3. search engine optimization with duplicate feed content? good luck with that... And what affiliate marketeers? what will they be selling stolen data feeds?
    4. why would mybb care what you do with their software, read their terms of use


    I'd start over with a new plan.
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    • Profile picture of the author RetiredOldDude
      Originally Posted by Rbtmarshall View Post

      2. your plan will be against googles TOS
      Really? Would they refuse to send traffic to the site?


      Originally Posted by Rbtmarshall View Post

      3. search engine optimization with duplicate feed content? good luck with that...
      As I said, I intend to BUY all my traffic.
      I have NO desire to try to get traffic through intense SEO efforts (its not worth the time, effort or the hassle)

      Originally Posted by Rbtmarshall View Post

      I'd start over with a new plan.
      What would you suggest?
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  • Profile picture of the author Rbtmarshall
    I must have misread the SEO part. And just from memory from the random crap I've read over time, Google adwords/adsense does have restrictions of some sort on sites that don't contain original content.
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  • Profile picture of the author RetiredOldDude
    Originally Posted by RetiredOldDude View Post

    I am considering starting a forum (based on the stock market). As it will be a brand new Forum, I am thinking about "seeding" it with about 100 threads and 100 articles from other forums and stock market sites.

    1. What is my legal position?

    2. I will be using Google Pay Per Click to drive traffic to the site. Will Google care that it is not original material?

    3. As I will be using paid traffic only, I am not concerned about any Search Engine Optimization issues. Will any of my potential affiliate marketers be concerned?

    4. The site is a standard MyBB Bulletin Board Forum site. Would MyBB be concerned? My main competitor does NOT use a MyBB site.


    Thanks
    Anyone else have any suggestions or recommendations regarding what I am wanting to do.
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    • Profile picture of the author John Taylor
      Originally Posted by RetiredOldDude View Post

      Anyone else have any suggestions or recommendations regarding what I am wanting to do.
      I think it's a sleazy way to start a business.

      Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer who
      is already a member of one, or more, of the forums you
      intend to take content from.... Would you trust the guy
      running the forum?

      Also, consider the owners of the forums you're taking
      the content from... Do you think they might consider
      issuing you with a DCMA notice? I know I would.

      Have you considered investing some time and money
      in creating a business based on honesty and integrity?


      John
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      • Profile picture of the author RetiredOldDude
        Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post

        I think it's a sleazy way to start a business.

        Put yourself in the shoes of a potential customer who
        is already a member of one, or more, of the forums you
        intend to take content from.... Would you trust the guy
        running the forum?

        Also, consider the owners of the forums you're taking
        the content from... Do you think they might consider
        issuing you with a DCMA notice? I know I would.

        Have you considered investing some time and money
        in creating a business based on honesty and integrity?


        John
        So, from your post I understand that you think that it may be ethically borderline.
        But is it legally wrong?
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        • Profile picture of the author An Al
          Originally Posted by RetiredOldDude View Post

          So, from your post I understand that you think that it may be ethically borderline.
          Then you don't understand very well. It's not borderline at all.

          But is it legally wrong?
          Have you ever seen that FBI warning they put on dvd movies warning about illegally copying copyrighted material? It's not there just for the heck of it.

          Yes, it is legally wrong.

          If you can afford PPC for stock market related ads, you can afford to have your own content produced.
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        • Profile picture of the author John Taylor
          Originally Posted by RetiredOldDude View Post

          So, from your post I understand that you think that it may be ethically borderline.
          But is it legally wrong?
          There's nothing "borderline" about it... it's unethical.


          As far as being "legal", ask a lawyer. I'm not qualified to answer.

          John
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          • Profile picture of the author RetiredOldDude
            Originally Posted by John Taylor View Post

            There's nothing "borderline" about it... it's unethical.
            As far as being "legal", ask a lawyer. I'm not qualified to answer.
            John
            Hi John,

            Thanks for your opinion. I do respect it.

            But maybe you should read this ( http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post8633019 ).

            Then advise me as to the best alternative.
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            • Profile picture of the author John Taylor
              Originally Posted by RetiredOldDude View Post

              Hi John,

              Thanks for your opinion. I do respect it.

              But maybe you should read this ( http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...ml#post8633019 ).

              Then advise me as to the best alternative.
              The advice James gave you is likely to be the most
              effective way of building a forum. However, you seem
              to think that he got it the wrong way round.

              Ironicly... you can't have it both ways. You either put in
              the hard work outlined in James' response, Or you put in
              hard work by engaging your target audience though paid
              traffic.

              Either way... you don't use other people's content without
              permission.

              John
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  • Profile picture of the author johnben1444
    Certainly SEO is not in your plan if you want to copy 100 contents from other forums to your site which to me is a big negligence on your part and shooting yourself in the foot right before you begin.

    All the forums I know got started naturally and organic traffic is still one of their top traffic source.

    I can't recall the number of times I search for issues on Google and forums keep popping up on the first page hands free without any SEO/backlinks from the forum owners.

    I advice having all the right categories and use enough exposures as you can from SEO, PPC, social media, blogging, advertising your site on top stock market sites that allow paid ads.

    It's actually a tall goal but consistency is the key.
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  • Profile picture of the author trader909
    Banned
    don't be silly John....it's 2013 ;-)

    Have you considered investing some time and money
    in creating a business based on honesty and integrity?
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  • Profile picture of the author Sweersz
    It's a horrible idea. You'd get at least one DMCA notice for sure. PPC will only get you so far until you run out of money, then having to resort to SEO but by that time, you'll probably be blacklisted for violating Google's TOS.

    If I visited a forum and realized that all the content was copied from a whole bunch of other sources, I'd leave. There's no trust or credibility... poor business model.
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  • Profile picture of the author Jeffery Moss
    Originally Posted by RetiredOldDude View Post

    I am considering starting a forum (based on the stock market). As it will be a brand new Forum, I am thinking about "seeding" it with about 100 threads and 100 articles from other forums and stock market sites.

    2. I will be using Google Pay Per Click to drive traffic to the site. Will Google care that it is not original material?

    3. As I will be using paid traffic only, I am not concerned about any Search Engine Optimization issues. Will any of my potential affiliate marketers be concerned?
    Ethical or legal issues aside, it's possible you could prevent your competitor from knowing you had scraped their content if you block access to web crawlers on your pages. That won't be a real issue with search engine ranking as you mentioned you are not worried about SEO. And, that will negate the possibility the other site owner would take legal action against you.

    As for the Google PPC, it might be useful to read their TOS to see what their view is on sites using content that is not original. That's the only advice I could give you about that part.
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  • Profile picture of the author Cali16
    Originally Posted by RetiredOldDude View Post

    I am considering starting a forum (based on the stock market). As it will be a brand new Forum, I am thinking about "seeding" it with about 100 threads and 100 articles from other forums and stock market sites.
    The forum threads issue aside (although I strongly suspect there is some sort of copyright infringement there), are you planning to obtain permission from the owners of those stock market sites to use their articles on your forum?

    I'd certainly recommend talking to a lawyer before you do anything, as you are heading down a very precarious road if you move forward with this plan.
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  • Profile picture of the author PBScott
    I would suggest for your seeding, to do as most news syndication's do, rewrite the article and cite the source.

    It takes a lot of time to get a forum running, good luck with it....I would suggest looking to see if any are for sale before you start...buy the content rather than scraping, or writing it.
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    • Profile picture of the author RetiredOldDude
      Originally Posted by PBScott View Post

      I would suggest for your seeding, to do as most news syndication's do, rewrite the article and cite the source.
      Thanks for the tip. We will follow that little gem of advice


      Originally Posted by PBScott View Post

      It takes a lot of time to get a forum running, good luck with it....I would suggest looking to see if any are for sale before you start...buy the content rather than scraping, or writing it.
      We intend to have the forum up and running within 2 weeks. Fully loaded. And with a solid advertising budget.
      Tried to buy our main competitor but they were "unrealistic".
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      • Profile picture of the author Cali16
        Originally Posted by RetiredOldDude View Post

        We intend to have the forum up and running within 2 weeks. Fully loaded. And with a solid advertising budget.
        It seems pretty evident that you don't really care about the potential legal ramifications of your plan. Despite several warnings, it seems you're still determined to have your site up and running in 2 weeks "fully loaded" by taking content from other sites, which is the real issue here - as multiple WF members have pointed out.

        With all due respect, you need to either 1) change your time frame to one that is more realistic (and doesn't require stealing others' content), 2) work like crazy to write your own content to "seed" your site, and/or 3) spend the $$$ to pay someone to create unique, quality content for you (which isn't going to be inexpensive, as the stock market is a pretty specialized, complex topic). You simply can't just steal / take / "borrow" content from other sites and use it on your site without getting permission from those sites' owners. (Well, you can, just like you can go out and rob a bank to fund your business venture...but that doesn't make it ethical or legal.)

        As they say, haste makes waste, and your business plan is a really bad one. Sorry to be harsh, but taking a shortcut by stealing content from other sites is not only lazy and unethical (no "borderline" about it) but you're also setting yourself up for failure (and potential legal problems due to copyright issues).

        But hey, if you want to take that risk, don't say you weren't warned. You might get away with it for a short while, but it will be at the sacrifice of your integrity and possibly your reputation, and maybe a lot more than that.

        If you TRULY want to know your legal position, don't seek it here - consult with an attorney who is familiar with Internet law.
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        • Profile picture of the author RetiredOldDude
          Cali16
          Thanks for your opinion. I do respect it.
          But I ask that you re-read post 16 above
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  • Profile picture of the author Patbinc
    Originally Posted by RetiredOldDude View Post

    I am considering starting a forum (based on the stock market). As it will be a brand new Forum, I am thinking about "seeding" it with about 100 threads and 100 articles from other forums and stock market sites.

    1. What is my legal position?

    Thanks
    Forget about seeding it with threads and articles from other forums and sites. You will lose credibility so fast you won't know what hit you. Would you have come to warrior forum if you knew the guy running this is getting content from other forums and sites?

    What will keep people from joining the forums where you are getting the original content from?!

    You haven't figured out your business yet. The worst you could do is hire people on Fiverr to post fresh threads and participate for a while till you have enough content to become credible.

    Anything short of clean, fresh content will not cut it.
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    • Profile picture of the author RetiredOldDude
      Originally Posted by Patbinc View Post

      You haven't figured out your business yet. The worst you could do is hire people on Fiverr to post fresh threads and participate for a while till you have enough content to become credible.
      Thanks for your advice. I appreciate and respect it.

      I was intending to do that ( hire people on Fiverr to post fresh threads) in addition to "seeding" the site.

      But I also intend to have a solid backing of other threads and articles to bulk it up in the initial stages.
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  • Profile picture of the author Alexa Smith
    Banned
    Originally Posted by RetiredOldDude View Post

    1. What is my legal position?
    It's a very, very bad one, I think: you're at risk of being sued for breach of copyright and/or of having many DMCA site take-down notices served on your hosting company, I'd think? (I'm not a lawyer but am available to play one on TV: defense roles only, please).

    Originally Posted by RetiredOldDude View Post

    2. I will be using Google Pay Per Click to drive traffic to the site. Will Google care that it is not original material?
    I doubt it, but who knows? (They'll almost certainly be de-indexing your site at some point anyway, if anyone points out all the copyright breaches to them.)

    Originally Posted by RetiredOldDude View Post

    3. As I will be using paid traffic only, I am not concerned about any Search Engine Optimization issues. Will any of my potential affiliate marketers be concerned?
    Only they can answer this. People's beliefs about the significance and importance of SEO are often so bizarre that it's quite impossible to predict most of them.

    Originally Posted by RetiredOldDude View Post

    4. The site is a standard MyBB Bulletin Board Forum site. Would MyBB be concerned?
    Again, the only way to be certain is to ask them, but I suspect not. It doesn't really matter, though, because your site probably won't be "up" for long enough for them to notice it, once people start serving the DMCA notices on your hosting company? I certainly would, if you took any of my posts from another forum, because I'm aware that I still own the copyrights to my forum posts, and I'm actually quite protective of them - and I certainly won't be the only one. But as it happens, although I've posted plenty elsewhere about forex, I've said nothing about stocks anywhere, because I don't know anything about them, so you don't have to worry about me! (Just a few hundred other people, perhaps? )

    By the way, this forum isn't a good place to ask for or to take legal advice, really: http://www.warriorforum.com/main-int...al-advice.html
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    • Profile picture of the author RetiredOldDude
      Alexa
      Thanks for your advice. I appreciate and respect it.
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  • Most people who are online are breaking some laws, there are just to many that it's imposible not to break a few, so your legal position is most likely a lawbreaker if you are in the USA if someone small and new you might be luck not enough BS laws yet, specially if you are in a small republic.
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