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Not infrequently a forum member wants to tell others about an article or news item related to the issues discussed on the forum. However, posting the entire article to the forum, without the permission of the author or publisher, results in a prima facie case of copyright violation. While there can be defenses to a claim of copyright infringement where the purpose of copying is clearly not for commercial purposes (e.g. “fair use” or academic teaching exceptions), those defenses are complicated, have been construed differently in different jurisdictions and are not necessarily applicable to forum distribution.
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Sometimes a robust debate about ideas spills over into attacks on the proponents or opponents of the ideas. Forum members need to be reminded that a false statement that harms someone's reputation can be actionable as libel. There is a substantial difference between disagreeing with how someone did their research or treated a patient and accusing the person of fraud or incompetence. Because negative statements that impugn someone's professional qualifications can cause substantial economic and emotional harm, this is an area for careful scrutiny. Keeping criticism on an objective basis that is factually verifiable and skipping personal commentary about character, competence or motive minimizes legal risk.
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The exception to this rule is that APA may use its officially sanctioned social media Forums to promote its products and services.
Please click here for more information regarding this rule
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Research on Forums: Research that samples via Forum postings relies on flawed and indefensible methodology. Research that must discuss and defend its sample, the population, response rates and representativeness or generalizability of the data would be hampered in these pursuits by using these Forums.
APA does not endorse or forward requests for research participation to any APA–approved Forum. Public social networks carry risks and disadvantages for conducting research. Users should be aware of these limitations.
These Forums are not exhaustive collections of members who may fit into one or more specific category (e.g., clinical psychologists, practitioners, educators, and so on). By using a Forum as the universe for their respondents, researchers could be excluding a large number of eligible participants and hence could be introducing bias into their research.
Many members belong to more than one Forum, and if the research is being sent to more than one Forum, the researcher faces the challenge of defining response rate, given duplication.
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