User generated content, social media and the law.


Since 2006 and the explosion of UGC on sites like YouTube, content uploaded by users has become invaluable for journalists.

A great example of the importance of UGC for main-stream media was the immediate aftermath of Moscow’s Domodedovo airport bombing earlier this year. Major news networks like Sky and BBC used the footage in their main programme coverage.

 

 

The Guardian’s Comment Is Free (CIF) offers a platform for journalists and guest posters to publish content and invite comment and discussion on particular issues.

However, the nature of the news and views site has meant it can be open to the possibility of libelous or defamatory comments being left. For example the comments made on Kieran Yates’s post which recommends a rap song with anti-semitic lyrics.

As journalists, we need to remember that the same legal rules apply to online content as with print and broadcast material. Here are some key things to consider regarding the internet and the law in the UK for those providing services based on UGC:

copyright issues in relation to UGC and any legislative exemptions which may be available

rights clearances

•the ‘mere conduit’ and ‘hosting’ defences

•legal issues relating to offensive/defamatory/illegal content, minors and the likelihood of action by authorities.

Ashley Hurst is a senior association in the Media Litigation Group at Olswang law film and specialises in internet disputes. He told us how social media sits with the law:

 

 

For more information on UGC and the law check out this free eBook.

 

By Lucy Hewitt

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3 responses to “User generated content, social media and the law.

  1. Pingback: User generated content, social media and the law. « generated by users | U.S. Justice Talk

  2. Thank you..really informative!!

    • Glad you found the post interesting. Lots of people assume there are different laws for the internet, but the same laws on copyright, libel and defamation etc still apply as with any published material.

      It’s also important to remember that if offensive comments are posted on your site, they’re your responsibility.

      This academic paper goes into lots more detail if you’re interested:

      http://www.law.ed.ac.uk/it&law/c10_main.htm

      Lucy x

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