Legal issues

Rights

Visitnorway must never publish content that it does not have the rights to publish. However, in some cases rights are implied and need not be agreed upon specifically in advance. There may however be EULAs that must be followed, in these cases, and IN or VN policy may differ from the law in certain cases.

Type of use Rights
Automatic feed Rights are implied and do not need to be clarified at the time of publication.
Embedded Rights are implied when embedding is enabled by the hosting site, but this should be evaluated by IN’s legal team. The polite thing to do is nevertheless to ask the owner before embedding.
Also, a standard contract should be prepared and ready for instances like this.
Editorial excerpt Rights to quote are well-established, but excerpts will often exceed normal quotes in scope and size. Owner should be asked in advance, and a standard contract should be prepared and ready.
Editorial copy The author or owner must be asked in advance, and a standard contract agreed to.

Editorial responsibility

While it is clear that Visitnorway has editorial responsibility for content that is hosted on the site, and does not have editorial responsibility for content that is linked to, it may vary to what extent Visitnorway has editorial responsibility for embedded content, and content that appears in feeds.

While it seems obvious that Visitnorway has a responsibility for this content’s presence and visibility on the site, it does not follow that Visitnorway is responsible for the content itself, since this is content that Visitnorway editors do not have access to edit or change, other than to remove/unlink.

Type of use Editorial responsibility When?
Automatic feed Check and adjust filtering and content to ensure feed is updated at correct frequency and stays within subject and is not misused or changed. Regularly, before publication.
Embedded Check content and make sure it is accessible for the readers. At publication.
Editorial excerpt Check VN’s rights to publish, make excerpt and link to more information. At publication and regularly thereafter.
Editorial copy Check VN’s rights to publish, make content with layout, formatting, and links to more information. Desking and maintenance. At publication and regularly thereafter.

Issues may arise or become apparent later, however, and in these cases it is important to have a clear policy and act quickly.

For the most part, the legal responsibility will rest on the content’s owner, but that does not mean that VN has no obligation, moral or otherwise, to react quickly to any transgressions with regard to the law, site policy, or common sense.

These are some suggested examples:

Type of use Issue What to do
Automatic feed Filter fails or is misused, with the result that undesired content is shown on the VN site. Stop feed, examine fault, correct or refine filter, reactivate feed.
Automatic feed Feed is being subverted and used for advertising or official information from company or commercial interests. Stop feed and remove, replace with other if possible.
Embedded Embedded content does not work. Check for local error, check external content, remove link if content is permanently unavailable.
Embedded A person is shown in the content, who demands to be removed. Evaluate legality of claim vs theme and amount of exposure person has in the content. Remove if possible and required.
Editorial excerpt Owner of content claims quote is too large or extensive. Evaluate claim and respond by adjusting size, asking permission, or removing the content altogether.
Editorial copy Plagiarism by content “owner” who has given VN permission to use the content. Remove content immediately, and seek permission to use from genuine owner.

By-line

It is important also to not only label user-generated content as such, but also whom it is by. It is also sound SEO-practice to connect content to an identifiable author, as this will lend authority to the content and indicate content of relatively high quality.

Limitations to use

Content that is used on Visitnorway could conceivably carry conditions to its use that will make it more difficult to administrate and manage.

How this should be managed and maintained depends on guidelines from IN, regarding budget and brand profile, for instance. It should be considered when conditions to use are too strict, labour-intensive, or costly, versus the usefulness and value of the content’s use.

Labelling

Similarly to sponsored content and other forms of commercial content, user-generated content may have a an agenda and must thus be used with care, and should always be clearly labelled as coming from an external source. Eaxct labelling must be worked out at a later date, and clear guidelines given.

If the content is not reproduced on Visitnorway in its entirety, but instead linking to a complete version that is off-site, the user must receive a clear indication that:

  1. The link is leading off-site.
    and
  2. Where the link leads, and to what sort of content.

 

Altering or editing user-generated content

User-generated content must never be altered or edited, except where it is required to make excerpted or copied content conform to Visitnorway style, formatting and layout. For instance:

  • Text may change font, size or pagination, but not wording, meaning or sentence structure.
  • Images may be resized and cropped, but not if their core meaning and theme changes as a result.
  • Video may be shown larger or smaller, or without sound, but may not be edited or cut. Setting start point and endpoint in the video player, if available, is permitted, however.

Languages

User-generated content will most likely be more abundantly available in Norwegian and English, and to a lesser extent German, than many other languages. While some languages may thus be spoiled for choice, others may find it hard to find user-generated content of acceptable quality.

Translating content

As a rule, user-generated content should not be translated for use on Visitnorway. Exceptions may be made in some cases, however:

  • If linking to external content and a title and into text is needed for the Visitnorway entrance/preview/link.
  • If quoting user-generated content in a different context, page or article.
  • If the content is deemed of such quality or importance that translating it is deemed worth the cost, time and effort. In such cases, permission for long-term use of the content must be secured in advance.
  • In cases where the content is important, and no viable other option exists, including but not limited to using it in a different language.

Use of fall-back languages

In some cases translation of user-generated content may not be a viable option, but the content may still be important enough that it should be included in the website in some way regardless. In cases like this, certain fall-back languages may be used, if the content is available in that language.

In general, fall-back languages should not be used on the site, but rather linked to, from a translated headline and intro text, or similar.

If fall-back languages are used, it is important that its use is obviously intentional to the reader, and not the result of some error or mistake. Content in another language than the primary, must be clearly labelled.

User-generated content in fall-back languages must only be used:

  • If the content is important enough to warrant it.
  • If translating it is not an option.
  • If doing so does not disrupt or disturb the flow and look of the page it is included on.
  • When it adds to the website to such a degree that the benefit outweighs the disadvantage to both the individual page and the entire language version of the site, as such.