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Trustworthy Information Systems Handbook: Appendix E, V.C.

Liability for Records/Information Contained on Web Site: Risk Management

The following are suggestions for a web site operator to take to minimize his or her risk regarding potential copyright infringement and defamation liability:

  1. Do not actively monitor the web site. Active monitoring of the web site will give the web site actual or putative knowledge of user conduct and content. Thus it creates the possibility that a web site will be liable for all user harms except those preempted by the safe-harbor described above.
  2. Consider empowering independent contractors to monitor your site and give them the authority necessary to resolve problems.
  3. Respond to complaints promptly.
  4. Review your user agreement(s). Provisions enabling the web site to blacklist subscribers or edit content on subjective or arbitrary standards provide strong evidence of the web site's right and ability to control its users and their content. User agreements should only prohibit users from engaging in conduct that is illegal or tortuous.
  5. All employees who interact with the web site can take legally significant actions that could undermine a risk management strategy; thus the web site's risk management strategy should be explained to all employees, and employees responsible for dealing with web site problems should be given special training on how to implement strategies.

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Appendix E

TIS Handbook last updated July 2002, Version 4.