I have posted (my words) to a public forum so I have
clearly granted the forum the license to distribute these words via
the forum... forever.
This reasoning is sound right up to the point where you get to
"forever." While it can reasonably be argued that posting a
self-owned written work to a public forum implicitly gives license to
the forum's owners to republish the work on the forum, it is doubtful
that the implied
license would be held by a court to override
specific, written communications to the contrary. In other words, if
you email Perl Monks and say that you don't want them to use your
posts anymore, they would probably be in violation of U.S. copyright
law if they didn't abide by your request.
But if I expect to have that right of revocation, then
I am probably a fool at least because things change and forum sites
have little motivation to ensure that they will always provide the
resources to allow me to take back what I have
The problem with this logic is that the burden is upon the owners of
the forum site to demonstrate that they have license to republish your
works, should the issue of infringement come to trial or should you
issue a DMCA "takedown" request to the site's ISP. Whether the owners
give you the tools or have the resources to remove your works is
immaterial. If you tell them they're not allowed to use your works,
the burden is upon them
not to – or to demonstrate
that they have license to use your works despite your notice to
PerlMonks should probably add a 'legal notice'
Absolutely. Because of the burdens placed upon the site's owners when
it comes to republishing others' works, it is important that Perl
Monks take reasonable measures to ensure that authors of works posted
to the site understand that by posting they are granting license to
Perl Monks to republish their works on the forum. Rather than having
a legal notice page, I think that every page upon which there is a
form to submit comments ought to give notice – right next to the
Submit button – that posting to the site grants the site's
owners license to republish the material on the site in perpetuity.
PerlMonks should also add some technical means for
preventing people from deleting their contributions
I must disagree. People ought to be able to remove their own
contributions. First, being able to remove bad posts lowers the
barrier to contribution because posters need not worry about whether
their ideas are good enough not to come back and haunt them later.
They can contribute freely, knowing that if later they regret a
posting, they can remove it.
Second, allowing users to remove their own posts lowers the
copyright burden upon Perl Monks. The fact that Perl Monks allows
authors to remove their own posts provides strong evidence that the
posts on the site are published with consent. (If the authors didn't
want their works published, they could easily remove them.) Further,
it would be difficult for a malicious user to threaten Perl Monks with
an infringement suit or a takedown notice regarding content that could
easily be self-removed.