Martin Burns yumyum at easyweb.co.uk
Tue Nov 2 06:38:12 CST 2004

> As far as U.S.
> law goes, if you approve the reviews you will be personally liable for
> publishing them.  You cannot disclaim responsibility in your terms and
> conditions.  However, sites that do not review postings at all have
> been held not liable, though as soon as you are made aware of a
> defamatory posting, you then have responsibility to remove it.  Thus,
> under U.S. law you are better off if you don't review postings.

Legal advice I've been given in the context of UK member-contributed
content is the same. The key UK concept is 'duty of care'. By reviewing
posts in advance, you owe a higher duty of care.

> I
> don't know what the U.K. legal situation would be but if I were in
> your position I would make sure I personally reviewed every posting
> and if in any doubt at all as to the defamatory nature of the posting,
> I would not publish it.

I wouldn't do this, unless you were also 100% confident that you would
*know* whether a posting is defamatory or not. Otherwise you end up only
posting bland nonsense.

A better approach is to put the burden of proof onto the complainant.
Write your Ts&Cs such that you don't pre-approve postings, but will
investigate abuse if brought to your attention. Note that this absolutely
does not mean "Take down anything anyone complains about", but that the
complainent needs to prove it to your satisfaction before you take *any*


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