Legal Question in Intellectual Property in Georgia

My friends and I run a little (4,000 users or so) free not-for-any-type-of-profit-whatsoever public chat network. The available file sharing protocols allow our users to share files amongst themselves directly (their content never passing through our network servers). With the SOPA etc type laws being enacted, what type of legal disclaimer can we post to protect ourselves? We all donate our servers and time to administer the network and were hoping an attorney may be interested in writing a disclaimer for us to help protect us against any copyright problems. And finally,we have no way to know exactly what files are being exchanged amongst our users as the protocol connects the users directly to each other bypassing the network servers completely.

Asked on 4/23/12, 6:57 am

1 Answer from Attorneys

Glen Ashman Ashman Law Office

Shut the service down immediately. Unless you actually monitor and police contact you could easily land in prison. You need far more than a mere disclaimer to protect you. You need policies as to illegal use, a means to stop illegal use and many steps you have not taken.

You could go to prison for years and be fined hundreds of thousands or even millions of dollars. Read about the Megaupload case and be very scared. The operation of a file sharing site that is unpoliced is almost a guaranteed path to federal prison. And the way you set up is completely inappropriate given current laws.

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Answered on 4/23/12, 10:26 am

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