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Content, Writing and Copyright Forum

Putting Reader Letters on Web Site
Best Way to Ask Permission

 8:42 am on Jan 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

I have a web site that generates a lot of email. I have some generic FAQ and answer pages, but I thought a good way to generate new content would be to put more actual letters and answers online. I would only want to do this with the author's permission and without any actual names.

Any suggestions on the best way to handle getting permission? Should I put a note in my email page about it, or just ask people after they writwe to me, or?

Any suggestions would be appreciated.



 8:45 am on Jan 12, 2003 (gmt 0)

I'd ask after they write. If you put something like "your email may be pubished" on your site you may see a drop in correspondence.

Make sense?



 11:12 am on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Ask for permission up front on your site. It will be amazing how quick your frivolous emails drop off.


 11:24 am on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

This is like collecting and publishing testimonials.

You could try this as part of the e-mail form on your website:

I would be grateful for your permission to quote from your comments in the forthcoming marketing activities that we have planned. If you are happy for us to do this, just sign/select the relevant option below. Otherwise, your comments will be treated in the strictest confidence.

Have a suitable check box/radio button that is nomally checked "accept" to maximise the opportunities for you or leave it unchecked if you prefer.

Add this as part of your privacy/usage statement, too.


 12:21 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

As far as UK data protection is concerned.

you cannot have a check box for "use my details" type wording that is automatically checked for a "YES" answer.

You must allow users to opt in themselves, the defualt answer should be set to NO.

Believe me this comes from a top dog who advise the European guys in Brussels and specialises in cyberlaw.

There are sites out there who do this wrongly, some of them big names, should anyone take then to court there scr#@ed.



 12:34 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

Is the law the same for use my details i.e demographic/personal stuff for marketing as for publish my comments. They seem different issues.

jane - wouldnt you want to edit the comments anyway? some emails I get have typos/bad grammar etc, Once you edit it does it change the legal status?

<added>Who owns my comments?</added>


 12:44 pm on Jan 13, 2003 (gmt 0)

aspdaddy look at the bottom of your screen the bit where it says

Member comments are owned by the poster.
BestBBS v3.1 (c) WebmasterWorld.com 1998-2003 all rights reserved

Daven ;)


 12:37 am on Jan 14, 2003 (gmt 0)

> Ask for permission up front on your site. It will be
> amazing how quick your frivolous emails drop off.

Depending on how busy I am on other projects, sometimes I put up front in my email page for the site in question that "due to time constraints I am unable to reply to individual requests for further information." This basically stops everyone intelligent from writing to me at all, but has little to no effect on the frivolous emails, probably because those types of emails are from people unwilling, or for some reason unable, to follow directions in the first place. So I think if I put something in my email page about publishing letters on my site, it might scare off the people I enjoy hearing from the most.

Right now I just paraphrase the more generic questions and then put them and my answers in my FAQ pages. Thanks for all of the responses, but maybe it is the simplest if I just keep doing things that way. When I first wrote my question to this forum I didn't think about the legal issues of what constitutes giving consent or not to have a person's email published on my site, especially when I'm dealing with emails from readers from a wide variety of countries with many different kinds of privacy and copyright laws.

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