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I run a groups/forums site that is open for all and covers a bunch of interests, similar to Google Groups. Now apparently I have started to receive several "I will sue you" mails from people in Euro countries who claim their name/company is defamed. Obviously it is some one who was either not happy with the service or is just trolling around, competitor whatever.

My concern is that me being a resident of another country, can I be sued by these random people. What should I write to these people?

I usually delete stuff, but its increasing exponentially. I delete if someone says that "hey thats my real name and address someone posted there and says I sell drugs", sure i'll delete it , it's a real threat.

How do admins deal with this kind of situation, I am sure FB and Twitter then must have more lawyers than coders ? P.S. I know this is not a server fault issue. But I am not a lawyer, I am DevOps :(

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closed as off topic by Bryan, MikeyB, jscott, Sirex, ceejayoz Jan 27 '12 at 15:54

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Deal with the users of your forum that break the rules. –  Bryan Jan 27 '12 at 14:48
thats not possible in my case and again similarly tedious. But I do want to be sure that I can't get sued randomly everywhere in the world. I agree with both Tom and Bart's answer. I wish I could afford a lawyer and this seems very trivial, but in SG i will end up paying 100s of $ just for an hour. Further I think OnStartup is a better stackexchange to post this at. If I could just move the post over.... –  Vangel Jan 27 '12 at 14:53
Flag for moderator attention? –  Bart Silverstrim Jan 27 '12 at 15:06
I'd advocate changing your question to make it generalized, so it's a question of whether or how you can be sued from companies in another country rather than "I'm in Singapore, someone in XYZ is threatening litigation..." because that's a little too localized. –  Bart Silverstrim Jan 27 '12 at 15:11
Refer them to the case of Arkell vs Pressdram [jackofkent.blogspot.com/2010/05/…. –  Tom O'Connor Jan 29 '12 at 23:05

3 Answers 3

up vote 2 down vote accepted

As a german citizen i can tell you, there some sort of safe harbour for people running sites with user generated content. Your not liable as long as you don't know anything not legal is going on. As soon as someone points you to illegal content, you have to act or you could be held liable. BUT as my best buddy is copyright laywer (for the big evil move companies), no one will try to sue you in Singapore as it is way to complicated. If your not running megaupload2 there is very little chance some one will come after you.

If you like to take the (little but existing) risk is up to you, but would you take don puictures of girls in bikinis because some guy from saudi arabia threatens to sue you?

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Sadly this does not stop him from being sued. He will win, but he can still be sued, safe harbour or not. And if a german feels threatened he can sue... in germany. –  TomTom Jan 27 '12 at 15:23
sorry, you can't sue a singapore website in germany, no way. –  cheapstyle Jan 27 '12 at 15:32
Sure you can. If you feel defamated as a german this gives you the right to sue in germany. I had a customer in Copenagen once served a default court order from a german court because some competing company in germany felt he violated german laws - and he ignored the court "invitation" to show up. Default judgement, served to copenhagen. As long as one end of the defamatin is in germany (like a german feeling defamated), a german can sue in germany. –  TomTom Jan 27 '12 at 15:34
thanks for the awesome replies. It's somewhat helpful. TomTom, what happened when Copenagen won? What can they do to the outsider? –  Vangel Jan 29 '12 at 20:12
Copenhagen - no, customer actually DID violate some laws. Stopped selling the product to german customers and ate the costs. –  TomTom Jan 29 '12 at 20:39

My concern is that me being a resident of Singapore, can I be sued by these random people

Only answer: yes, sure you can be sued. Not veryl ikely (it costs a lot of money to sue someone in another country) or you could be sued in germany (again with a lot of ramifications), but it can happen.

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This is a question that is really one of those "hire a lawyer who knows those laws for your country" deals. I'm not sure any sysadmin here is qualified to give legal advice for your situation...you'll have to spend money on a good lawyer to cover you.

In general I doubt it would work for them to sue you as long as you don't go into their country. Then I'd be worried they could serve some kind of warrant.

I'd double check your terms of service to your application though...

I'm not a lawyer, can't give advice on law, etc. etc...

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The "laws of your countr" are not proteting you from being sued somewhere else. According to german law I can sue you on both ends - so I as a german cuold sue you in a german court when I feel defamated. A foreign lawyer may not know. –  TomTom Jan 27 '12 at 15:22

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