We delete it, right? But what if we don't know the legality of something?
We've been discussing this on Ask Ubuntu for the last week or so and a specific example has the mods slightly split. Hiren's Boot CD is a bootable disk image that bundles a load of stuff for fixing your computer. It used to bundle tons of unlicensed software. It now just contains a handful of Microsoft owned things, under different names. But piracy is piracy, right?
But how do moderators know it's pirated? How do we engage with things like this?
- Aaron posts posts a link to Oli's Boot CD
- Belle flags it for piracy
- Charlie ♦ doesn't know anything about Oli's Boot CD
- Dana ♦ is asked by Charlie ♦ to review, and finds copyright software in the changelog.
So we'd delete it, right? It's at this point one of my colleagues highlighted that we don't know —in this example— that Oli doesn't have a special redistribution license with the copyright owner. It might be completely legit. Oli certainly doesn't advertise the illegality.
You can take that to the nth, how do we know that The Pirate Bay doesn't have a redistribution license for all the things it links out to? You could certainly waste a lot of time working out the problem.
I see three options:
We spend an inordinate amount of time digging into every report. I mean, most stuff is sniff-testable but compilation media like Hiren's is exhausting if you're not familiar with it.
Just delete everything reported and let the poster challenge it? Seems like a pathway to abuse.
Delete nothing until a copyright owner sues or uses a DMCA.
I don't want our site turning into the sort of toilet that naturally forms around pirate dumps but at the same time I have to acknowledge that no moderator wants to spend hours trawling through sludge.