Advanced search start a new post about sharing content, and Mumsnet 'terms of use'?

(43 Posts)
chchchcherchanges Wed 02-Nov-16 20:29:00

So: AmyGMumsnet has today posted that:

Mumsnet is a public forum - there's no way of us preventing others sharing or using what is posted by our users on it. This was clearly an interesting topical discussion and the newspaper in question clearly felt the same way. (

However: Mumsnet terms of use state:

Copyright: This Web site and its contents are copyright Mumsnet, all rights reserved. Reproduction of all or any substantial part of the contents in any form is prohibited. No part of the site may be distributed or copied for any commercial purpose without express approval. (

So what's going on? Do Mumsnet own content, and have the capacity to decide / challenge what can be reproduced? Or not?

Any lawyers out there?

chchchcherchanges Wed 02-Nov-16 20:39:22

...or non-lawyers who like to speculate?!

HistoriaTrixie Wed 02-Nov-16 20:42:33

I'm no expert in UK law but could it perhaps be related to the percentage of the thread quoted in (usually) the Fail? I'm in the US and we have what's termed "Fair Use" where it's nearly always OK to use a percentage - I believe it's 10% - of a work for parody or criticism or similar.

chchchcherchanges Wed 02-Nov-16 20:46:30

That makes sense...and fits with the "all or any substantial part" bit of the terms (though not the "No part of the site may be distributed or copied for any commercial purpose without express approval" part - though maybe that's just not enforceable?)

alltheworld Wed 02-Nov-16 20:47:15

I can't comment on the copyright but there is a difference sharing your story, problem, question etc on a parenting site and then seeing it put on a news website. It has happened in some really sensitive threads and eventually people will stop using mumsnet in the way they used to and its value will diminish.

chchchcherchanges Wed 02-Nov-16 20:54:13

Agree, alltheworld, and I do think there are very contradictory messages (deliberately?) conveyed by Mumsnet on these things...

BigPointyStick Wed 02-Nov-16 21:06:44

With journalists and lawyers in the family they must know what's fair use. Posting online is literally posting to a worldwide audience anyhow. I can understand why people don't like it, but it's naive to look at Mumsnet like a special club. It's just another business like fb.

chchchcherchanges Wed 02-Nov-16 21:13:42

Yes, think you're right too, BigPointyStick. We are posting to the world. But the whole "by parents for parents" thing, coupled with the fact that there are genuine micro-communities in here, prolongs an illusion that this is not the case...

BigPointyStick Wed 02-Nov-16 21:16:10

It's a business with a nifty tagline.

ivykaty44 Wed 02-Nov-16 21:20:39

Fail M will just break the law and tough titty to number or any other organisation. The DM know that it's going to cost money to take them to court over it.

Something like 85% of complaints about newspapers are about the daily mail, more than all other newspapers out together and then some

Blodwengoch Wed 02-Nov-16 21:26:16

DM (much as I hate it) is not breaking the law.

Anything on a public forum is available to be used by journalists. Worth bearing in mind before posting identifiable stuff.

chchchcherchanges Wed 02-Nov-16 21:29:38

Blodwengoch, so what's the deal with the "No part of the site may be distributed or copied for any commercial purpose without express approval" part of the terms? Are MN just saying this with zero backing in law?

ChocolateForAll Wed 02-Nov-16 21:38:49

Posters are working on the assumption that MN didn't/doesn't give permission or get paid by media outlets who use MN content. I'm a huge MN fan but users do forget that it's a business like any other.

Blodwengoch Wed 02-Nov-16 21:39:09

It would have to be a substantial part of the site to have a serious chance of being actionable. One thread amongst tens of thousands wouldn't pass that test.

iMatter Wed 02-Nov-16 21:39:11

But they aren't breaking the law.

They couldn't "pinch" stuff from MN without either a) sloppy legal protection by MN or b) a contract between MN and the DM which allows DM to help themselves to the stories they want.

I have been on MN long enough (almost 13 years) to know which is the correct answer. Unfortunately.

ChocolateForAll Wed 02-Nov-16 21:44:10

iMatter that's what I suspected. I imagine lots of pearl clutching will follow....

pontificationcentral Wed 02-Nov-16 21:49:23

The second part refers to their own use of our discussions (for publishing books etc) - we are giving mn the right to use our discussions in toto in print. But they know full well that they can't prevent anyone else using them either. the statements are both correct.

It's interesting - the ethos around this stuff has definitely changed on mn - for a while there was a militancy about people using mn for research etc (and forwarding media requests etc etc) but in straightforward ethical terms, it's nice to have permission (particularly in research - informed consent and all that) but for publishing law it isn't problematic. We don't own our discussions, mn does. And the internet has so much stuff on the public domain that to claim anything is private is ludicrous.

I suspect there have been many discussions in mn towers as to the visibility of the site (essentially they could choose to create a more private non-searchable mumsnet) but that would be problematic in all sorts of terms. Their business model is complete openness, which helps to attract ad revenues.

It is such a behemoth now though. A very different place. (This isn't a 'days of yore' post - just a recognition that it is a giant and unwieldy beast.)

It does raise very valuable questions about internet use and privacy. Ditto Jeffreygate.

pontificationcentral Wed 02-Nov-16 21:51:56

It would be interesting to know if the DM pays Mn though. I think there has been radio silence on that. Any publicity drives more users though, which may be acceptable as a quid pro quo.

pontificationcentral Wed 02-Nov-16 21:51:56

It would be interesting to know if the DM pays Mn though. I think there has been radio silence on that. Any DM publicity drives more users though, which may be acceptable as a quid pro quo.

pontificationcentral Wed 02-Nov-16 21:52:16

Twice, apparently.

AliceInUnderpants Wed 02-Nov-16 22:55:57

I've reported this thread, so hopefully MNHQ will come along with a response smile

VintagePerfumista Thu 03-Nov-16 09:10:43

I've deleted the gushy flowers-to-the-OP bit.

"We do want to reiterate in this deletion message what KateMumsnet said on the thread, which is that we absolutely did not give the DM permission to reproduce this thread."

It would be interesting to once and for all have a clarification. Because, despite thinking personally that anyone who puts such identifying information about themselves on a public forum and is quite happy to let their thread run for 11 pages until the point that the press get hold of it, needs their internet privileges taken away until they learn (like any 6 yr old) that the internet is not a private place where you can snigger and gossip and slander any old cah with a "fake Vuitton"; it does seem a bit off that HQ are playing us along.

Because if the Mail did need to ask for permission, and didn't, then presumably HQ's lawyers would deal with it. And as this is the 8888th thread in the past year where this has happened, we can presume that, as the first HQer reply on the thread said, they don't need to.

So do they, or don't they?

I expect it's going to be one of those legal grey areas wink

chchchcherchanges Thu 03-Nov-16 14:24:01

Hmmm interesting omission / careful phrasing there, in the wording...'did not give permission' = not actively, but allow it anyway? Have no powers to give or rescind? (in which case, again, what's the deal with the T&Cs??)

Thisjustinno Thu 03-Nov-16 14:30:23

MNHQ recently commented on a thread that they have no arrangement with the DM.

OlennasWimple Thu 03-Nov-16 14:38:44

I wondered on another thread whether there was a legal difference between papers reporting "A MN user was amazed to learn that black is not white" followed by snippets of some of the responses to the OP, and taking screen shots and using those in their reporting instead. To me, screen shots seem to be a literal reproduction of the site that definitely crosses the line (but I'm not an expert)

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