On another board I visit, a question about copyright and board ownership has cropped up, and I figured someone here could point me in the right direction. I understand that on a message board, each poster retains the copyright to their own material, and through the registration agreement grant license to the board owner to use their copyrighted materials in exchange for the service provided.
Can that license granted by the registration agreement be transferred? Say the board owner wanted to sell the database to someone else who was going to use the posts to set up a new site. Would the users be required to sign a registration agreement to give the new owner license to use the data they just bought? If they didn’t sign a registration agreement at the new place and all their posts and account information were transferred without permission, is it possible they could seek legal recourse to get their posts and account removed?
I realize that a lot of this is grey areas and depends on circumstance. Any general information or insight is greatly appreciated.
Unfortunately, the original registration does not explicitly address copyright except to say that users agree not to post copyrighted material that doesn’t belong to them. However, it is implied that users retain copyright to their own material in a statement that reads:
“You remain solely responsible for the content of your posted messages. Furthermore, you agree to indemnify and hold harmless the owners of this forum, any related websites to this forum, its staff, and its subsidiaries.”
It does not address selling, transfer, or succession in any manner, however. The US Copyright office states that a transfer is only valid when it is in writing and signed by the owner of the copyright, which is what makes me think they would need a new agreement.