Here’s a simple question — who owns the comment you post on someone else’s blog?
One view is that the blog is the blog owner’s property and he owns all the content on it — including the comments — and has the right to do whatever he wants with them. Thus he may choose to publish or not publish a comment, edit it to any degree or delete it whenever he feels like.
However a little reflection should make one realize that by US law, the commenter by default attains copyright on any content he or she creates. So unless the commenter gives away some (or all) the rights associated with copyright, the comment is his property. Of course, it is debatable whether the act of posting the comment on another’s blog automatically means that the commenter gives away some of those rights.
Basically, things are a little murky. However, there is a simple solution — having a comment policy. All bloggers should clearly indicate to users what rights they have and what rights they are giving out when they write a comment. This is not only the honest and transparent thing to do but it also protects the blogger from potential legal repercussion later. This is the reason why all major comment-enabled blogs have a policy these days.
With that preamble, I present my comment policy below. It will also henceforth appear at the top of this blog. I view this blog as my property (indeed, the main reason I use WordPress is that I get such extensive control upon this site’s content) and the comment policy is written to reflect this view.
Muse Free is my blog and I will generally try to maintain it in a manner that is professional, courteous, friendly, and honest. I believe in allowing my readers an opportunity to express their views on my posts. That said, it is a big internet and I view this blog as my space. So, while you have the right to post anything you want on any open comment thread, I have the right to do anything I want with that comment henceforth. In short, once you post something here, you effectively lose control over it.
More precisely, by leaving a comment on Muse Free, you grant me a worldwide, irrevocable, non-exclusive, royalty-free, sub-licenseable and transferable license to store, use, transmit, display, edit, delete, publish, reproduce, or otherwise distribute your comments without limitation, as well as to make such additional uses of them as may be needed by me.
Nonetheless, you as commenter are responsible for your words. So long as your comments have not been edited by me in a manner that changes their meaning, they do not reflect my opinions, even if I retain them on the Muse Free blog. By submitting a comment on this blog, you agree that the comment content is your own, and to hold WordPress and me harmless from any and all repercussions, damages, or liability.
Usually I will not exercise my right to edit or delete a comment without good reason. A relevant and civil comment will most likely be accepted and retained. However, these are not promises. As stated above, my right to moderate, edit or delete any comment may be exercised at any time for good reason, bad reason or no reason at all. By putting a comment here you are implicitly taking a risk that I may delete your comment at any time, use it in any manner with or without attribution, edit it as I please or abuse your trust in some other way. Any or all of these actions by me will be legal according to the policy stated above and if you do not wish to take this risk, you are advised to not post a comment on this blog.