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Q. How do I know they have not been lifted from another site and that they own the rights to them?
Q. Where do I stand legally if they have been stolen?
Q. Should I be worried about this?
By allowing others to post content of anytime you are risking of getting involved into copyright infringement issues.
For you or anyone else having such site, I recommend good reading at [eff.org...]
However one cannot always avoid such issues and still have to offer good features for genuine site visitors. That is why there is Safe Harbor Law to protect genuine publishers.
It is going to be in your hands to weigh in pros and cons for adding such feature and reading up on above site to understand the details of the law.
P.S.. Study other big sites where such features already exists, see (don't copy, but learn) what measures they take to protect themselves. Learn from those who have survived, it can help.
Hope this helps.
fred_bloggs said: How do I know they have not been lifted from another site and that they own the rights to them?
fred_bloggs said: Where do I stand legally if they have been stolen?
Also, I'm assuming users will have to register first. Include a copyright policy in the registration agreement, or at least a link to your policy and a statement to the effect that "in registering, I agree to comply with said policy".
fred_bloggs said: Should I be worried about this?
Normally, if you put right an honest mistake immediately (and apologise) law suits do not follow.