All comments on this site are moderated now, meaning that I have to approve every single comment before it gets displayed. The idea is that I filter out any illegal content.
This change was made due to legal reasons. Not that it was actually legally required, the situation is much more complicated. Heise, a large german publishing house dealing mainly with computers, is currently in a legal battle concerning the question whether they have to screen every message posted to their (huge) forum before it gets displayed. A first ruling said yes, they have to, but they intend to ask the next instance, so this is not legally binding yet.
However, some lawyers contradict this and sent cease-and-desist letters to large german forums, requiring them to pay lots of money and sign a cease-and-desist contract (no idea what the actual english term for this is) requiring them to pay even more money if they ever let a possibly illegal comment (it is unclear what this means, at least to me) slip through again. This poses a lot of questions for me:
- Does this affect me at all? I hardly ever get comments
- As the ruling is not final yet, should I care or just wait and see how the situation develops?
- Does this apply only to forums or to comments on sites as well?
I do not know what the answers to these questions are, but I decided to just play it safe and make everything moderated. This does not mean that I think those lawyers are right, I just don’t want to mess with them. The operator of one of the forums already said that he was going to sue the lawyers, so things might turn out differently some time in the future. If it becomes an official, final decision that you do not have to read every comment before allowing it on your site (or not) then I’ll turn it off again, which would take me at most five minutes.
Written on March 18th, 2006 at 09:49 pm