What are the legal issues with creating a wiki for comedians? 3 Answers as of February 04, 2014

I want to create a website with a wiki for comedians that contained bios, YouTube videos, and links to references. It will follow much of the same Wikipedia policies (must provide references, no harassment or personal attacks, etc) All users must also create a login in order to create/edit an article. Can a comedian's agent or agency take down their article or disrupt my wiki for having their client on without their permission? It will be Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

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Lawyer for Independent Media
Lawyer for Independent Media | Sue Basko
For many reasons, you would be best off inviting the comedians to provide their own bio, photos and materials. You could create nuggets, and then ask for official sources to fill out the rest. That's if you want to avoid lawsuits. If you want to get sponsors, your site should be friendly to the comedians. That can even involve such things as not posting birth dates, since many do not want this known.

If you leave it open to the public to create the material, you may be shielded from tort liability for third party postings under the Communications Decency Act. But you won't be shielded from criminal liability or from some lawsuits or from constantly responding to subpoenas. If you are allowing unwanted materials to be posted, you won't get sponsorship. If you harm one comedian, the rest will hear of it and will flee. If you want user participation, I suggest you find a way to do that that does not harm your site or the comedians that you seek to honor.
Answer Applies to: California
Replied: 1/31/2014
Hugan Law | Christopher Hugan
Unfortunately, I cannot give you a definitive answer. Based on your question, it appears that the 1st Amendment or the doctrine of fair use might be defenses to such demands. But, it depends on the nature of your website. For instance, common law or statutory rights of publicity might apply, and those are creatures of state law, not copyright law. I suggest finding an Intellectual Property lawyer in your jurisdiction so that he or she can fully analyze your proposed website.
Answer Applies to: Tennessee
Replied: 2/4/2014
Sebby Law Office
Sebby Law Office | Jayne Sebby
Every person has the right to control the use of his/her name and likeness. His/her work is covered by copyright protections. However, there are some exceptions such as news reporting. Talk to an attorney about whether your proposed site will violate any laws.
Answer Applies to: Nebraska
Replied: 2/3/2014
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