Legal position on forum post


Does anyone know the lagal position of my forum where a request has gone in to remove a post about someone.

The thread in question is the street entertainers of my town. Listed in there by me are all the entertainers performing in my town. I have included links to their utube videos and web sites.

I added someone the other day and he has asked me to remove him from the system. Do i need to do this? There is a clip of his utube video and just a bit saying who he is (stage name etc).

This also brings up the subject of posts by other people in the town ? If they post something and i then get a request to remove it, do i have to (eg a local plumbers details in the services section).

If you just post up publicly available info on a local street entertainer, then I don’t see what possible legal reason they could have to force you to take that down. If you’ve posted something copyrighted or a trademark they might be a legal issue involved, but fair use may apply to copyright, and trademark only comes in when there’s possibility of consumer confusion/passing off etc, so again unlikely. Slander and defamation is a possibility if you are making any such commentary.

As for your visitors, you are usually not liable as a service provider, but you don’t state where you are from, so that doesn’t help me answer that in any further detail.

Question is, why is this person wanting you to take it down? Surely this is free publicity for him? I got a similar request for one of my forums - basically it was a review of a book in which the topic starter actually told people to buy the book as it was a great book. I got an email from the author demanding I remove the post as it was infringing his rights (it contained a brief 2 sentence excerpt from the book). TBH I don’t normally remove stuff as I know my rights in these matters, but in this case, I thought it was hilarious that the author was trying to stifle positive reviews and publicity for his book, so this time I gladly removed it and asked the author if he wanted to buy some ad space on the forum :slight_smile: People are strange sometimes.

Yes it is strange. We havent been rude, just simply highlighting his activities (manily by his video which is on utube). I have no idea why he wants it taking down. IT may be because he is frightened of local people commenting about his act. But he also has a facebook page and a twitter page and is very active on these platforms. He is older so may be wanting to control everything. I am not sure, but i am leaving it up.


In the UK, you would generally fall under the EU Ecommerce directive, which on the whole gives service providers protection from the actions of their users. But I have read of examples where this is becoming ‘circumvented’, and there’s no official legal takedown process like the DMCA in the US.

As as you suggest, some people seem to think they can ‘control’ what others say about them, but unless he’s willing to provide a valid legal reason for taking the content down, I would assume you have no legal obligation to remove it.

But I’m not a lawyer, just offering an opinion, etc.

Keep us informed though, I love this kind of stuff, and it’s great when people do their best to stifle something, only for it to get even more publicity.

Hello. On another website i apparently am in trouble for posting the video. Here are some replies

Just because the poster of the video to youtube enabled it to be streamed, it doesn’t mean a person has automatic rights to do so without consent. Not only that whose to say the poster had the street performers permission to post a video of him in the first place. If its the street performer himself that posted it to you tube, then maybe he enabled streaming for those that he gave permission to stream on there sites. As for facebook and twitter, well they are simply his own marketing portals so its irrelevant to the situation at hand.

No your not the copyright owner, you would be filming him and his creation/performance for which he is the artist off and therefore copyright holder. You can not film anyone without their consent by law.

So even if i filmed him myself i would be in trouble for putting up a video about him without his permission.

Any more comments ?

Could you give me the URL to this, either publicly or via PM?

Basically if he’s enabled embedding, then he’s giving permission for people to embed it. Don’t want people to embed it? Don’t allow embedding. If he wants to control his video performances, he should host them himself.

If the video was recorded by someone else and he wants to put a stop to it, he can file a claim with youtube and they will remove it. He shouldn’t be going after the people who embed it, it’s not their problem. And if he does, he should be explaining to them why he’s (hopefully) politely requesting they remove the embedded video. But IMO there’s no legal issue for you - only possibly the person who filmed the video.

And moving onto that, generally speaking in the UK, you should get a signed release from anyone you film. However, I ‘suspect’ that a public street performer may be giving you an implied right to film them, especially as they can see you filming them and did not stop you. But that’s not something I have any specific knowledge of and you’d need to check.

But as you did not film them and you are just embedding youtube code from someone else’s youtube channel, there is nothing the original performer or anyone else can do to stop you embedding it. If he feels he has a copyright claim with someone on youtube he needs to file notice with youtube directly. If he feels he has legal issue with you, he should tell you exactly what that legal issue is. And if he does, please do post it up.

ok thanks. i will update if anything happens.

Honestly, if a person wants to you to take down information about them, the best thing to do is simply take it down and get on with other things. Unless it is really some key element of your site, you’ll spend more time dealing with it than it is worth.

It is really a question of your business relationships. He is either your customer, if he pays for his listing or he is your supplier if you sell the eyeballs. He wants to terminate the relationship and you should grant this. Here are some valid reasons why he may want to do this:

  • he does not like to be associated with you or any of the other entertainers (for example if he is by far the best entertainer)
  • he wants to minimise his marketing exposure, for example he may want to concentrate on a different passion
  • his marketing focuses on a non-retail audience or exclusiveness

HTH, Jochen

My understanding is that this isn’t a business relationship at all. The OP simply runs a web site where he chooses to post up factual information about the local street entertainers, including youtube videos of them performing, that he’s simply embedding. One of those entertainers for some unknown reason has decided he doesn’t like free publicity and wants his information removed. The OP, quite rightly, feels he can post up publicly available information on his own web site and as long as he’s not breaking any laws, can refuse to remove the information.

He shouldn’t need to feel pressured to do this. It’s his site and he can do as he pleases. The performer has to accept that he cannot control everything that is said or posted about him, especially when it is purely just factual, publicly available information. ‘Copyright’ does not grant you the right to control what is said about you. The guy is a public street performer, he needs to accept that people will talk about him and there’s nothing he can do about it.

EDIT - I’ve managed to find the forum where he’s been getting this so-called ‘advice’ - most of the responses are clearly from people who have not entirely understood the situation, and certainly don’t understand copyright.

If you don’t treat it like a business relationship, sooner or later you will piss them all off and that won’t help your forum. EVen if the government is involved at the end of the day, the “service” has to be reasonably up to scratch. Example from here in New Zealand: The National Archive here is by law required to “archive New Zealand specific Internet content”. 3 years ago they did this by using US based screen scraping, which caused many local businesses and non-profits to pay for a lot of International Unternet traffic. Their service and PR department was very busy and they could have saved the cost by engaging with the affected people first.

HTH, Jochen

But he isn’t doing anything that should be pissing off any reasonable person. He just runs a discussion forum targeted at his locality and in it he’s started a topic highlighting all the local street performers with links to their youtube videos. That’s pretty basic stuff, that’s how the internet works - if the street performer doesn’t want people knowing about himself, he should give up public street performing and remove his youtube channel (or make a copyright claim to youtube if he feels someone else’s channel is infringing his rights). Once you’re ‘out there’, you have to accept that people will talk about you. People have to accept they cannot control everything in this world and they certainly cannot make a site owner remove forum posts without any good reason other than ‘I don’t like you linking to my stuff’. The comparisons to a government run archive are irrelevant to this situation.

I’d mention freedom of speech, but it’s not even that, because it sounds like the guy isn’t even adding commentary or opinion - just publicly available information and it certainly sounds like there are absolutely zero legal issues involved. Would you really remove perfectly reasonable content from your site, just because someone asks you to without any good reason or explanation?