Copia comment conundrums

Earlier this year I posted an off-hand entry about a scam call I received. I guess it soon got a plum Google spot for the query "Government grants scam" and it's been getting almost one comment a day ever since. Today I came across a comment whose author was requesting permission to use the posting and sibling comments in a book.

I have written a book on Winning Grants, titled "The Grant Authority," which includes a chapter on "Avoiding Grant Scams." It is in final stages of being (self)- published. I want to include comments and complaints about government grant scams on this Copia blog. I think the book's readers will learn alot from them.

How can I get permission to include written comments on this blog site in this book?

I'd never really thought about such a matter before. I e-mailed the correspondent permission, based on Copia's Creative Commons Attribution licensing, but considering he seemed especially interested in the comments, I started wondering. I don't have some warning on the comment form that submitted comments become copyright Copia's owners and all that, as I've seen on some sites. If I really start to think about things I also realize that our moderating comments (strictly to eliminate spam) might leave us liable for what others say. It all makes me wonder whether someone has come up with a helpful (and concise) guide to IP and tort concerns for Webloggers. Of course, I imagine such a read might leave my hair standing on end so starkly that I'd never venture near the 21st century diarist's pen again.

BTW, for a fun battle scene viewed in the cold, claret light of pedantry, inquire as to the correct plural of "conundrum".

[Uche Ogbuji]

via Copia
2 responses
The plural of "Can none drum?" is of course "Can none drum?", as "none" can be either singular or plural, despite its etymological origin in "no one".
I'd guess "conundra", but I have no idea as to the correctness. 

I would guess that it would be very difficult to make an infringement case on content someone posted on a site they didn't control.  IANAL, but I'm guessing that there's already a precedent on that.  People write comments on paper all the time - in the margins of books, in guestbooks, yearbooks, bathroom walls... there must be some kind of case law after 200+ years.  That doesn't mean that someone couldn't make life a pain for you for quoting them though.  In any case, if the author made a reasonable effort at attribution, I'd guess it'd pass the "fair use" test.